Die Spielregeln, Regelgeschichte

Law 7: The duration of the match

This article has been updated to comply with the Laws of the Game 2023/24. It lists all the rule changes in the Laws of the Game and other association football codices before 1886 I know of. More on trials or withdrawn and defeated football rule proposals discussed at the Annual General Meeting of The IFAB on request (Contact).

In this article the development of the duration of the match is described.

Year (Source) new or changed laws (proposing club/association, if known)
Except for the codices of Sheffield FC and later Sheffield FA, no code specifies the game and half time durations for almost the entire 19th century, nor the FA.
1858 (Sheffield FC and FA) The duration is 60 minutes. (After the Sheffield FA had adopted the FA Rules (1878), there were 19 years of no law that regulated the duration.)
1897 (IFAB) The duration of the game shall be 90 minutes, unless otherwise mutually agreed. The interval at half-time shall not exceed five minutes, except by consent of the referee.
1938 (IFAB) More accurate addition that the playing time is divided into two 45 minutes. Further addition that lost time is determined by the referee and is replayed at the end of each half and that the playing time for the execution of a penalty shot is extended. An abandoned game must always be replayed completely.
1959 (IFAB) Change: A abandoned match does not have to be replayed if the rules of the competition in question stipulate that the result of the match is valid at the time of such an abandonment.
1987 (IFAB) Specification of exactly what is counted as lost time: „substitution, the transport from the field of injured players, time-wasting or other cause“.
1995 (IFAB) Increase the half-time interval to a maximum of 15 minutes. The interval can only be shortened with the referee’s agreement.
1997 (IFAB) Change: It is possible to shorten the playing time (e.g. because of insufficient light), but only before the beginning and must comply with competition rules. In addition, players are entitled to an interval at half-time and competition rules must state the duration of the half-time interval. An abandoned match is replaced unless the competition rules provide otherwise. Only the referee determines the injury time, i.e. for substitution(s), assessments of injury to players, removal of injured players from the field of play for treatment, wasting time and any other cause. Introduction of the extra time with two equal periods to be played under the conditions of Law 8.
2016 (IFAB) It is added that the overtime displayed is the minimum added time and can be extended; this includes drink stops and time lost by disciplinary sanctions. The Fourth Official displays the stoppage time. It is also added in the text that the referee cannot compensate for a measurement error of the added time at the end of the second half. Additional, short drinks breaks are permitted at the interval of half-time in extra time.
If a penalty kick has to be taken or retaken, the half is extended until the penalty kick is completed.
2018 (IFAB) It is clarified that the permitted drinking breaks must not last longer than one minute. It is clarified that the permitted drinking breaks must not last longer than one minute. It is also added that delays relating to VAR checks and reviews are added to the added time.
2019 (IFAB) It is added that medical stoppages are permitted by competition rules e.g. ‚drinks‘ breaks and ‚cooling‘ breaks.
2021 (IFAB) Stoppage time relates to „lost“ playing time, not „all“ time.
2023 (IFAB) Goal celebrations and interference by an outside agent will also be credited for the time lost and replayed.