The new stoppage-time rules implemented by English football this season to reduce time waste are “absurd” and will not be adopted in UEFA competitions, according to Zvonimir Boban, the European governing body’s chief of football.
Following FIFA’s lead at the men’s and women’s World Cups, England’s referee body announced in July that officials would add time lost to goal celebrations, substitutions, and injuries.
The goal is to expand the amount of time the ball is in play, with games now routinely lasting more than 100 minutes.
Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester United defender Raphael Varane, and FIFPRO, the global players’ union, have all criticized the new method, claiming it will raise player workload in an already hectic schedule.
“It’s absolutely absurd,” said Boban, a former AC Milan and Croatia midfielder, addressing reporters in Monaco.
“In terms of player welfare, it’s either a small or large tragedy because we’re adding nearly 12, 13, and 14 minutes.”
“When you play 60, 65 minutes—and I can speak from experience, especially as a midfielder—the last 30 minutes of the game are when you get tired. Then someone arrives and adds another 15 minutes.
“How many times have we complained about the calendar and having too many games? We are not paying attention to the players and coaches. It’s insane. We will not do this because it is too much. Our policies are distinct.”
UEFA’s chief refereeing officer, Roberto Rosetti, backed Boban, stating that the governing body has been working for five years to enhance the amount of time the ball is in play throughout its championships.
“There is something more important than the accuracy of additional time,” Rosetti explained. Why is the Champions League so popular? Because it’s intense and great, the players never stop playing.
“We tell our referees to speed up the restart of play instead of focusing on stoppage time.”