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Is time wasting in football at its worst?

Sunday 21st October 2018

Time-wasting. It's an annoyance we've all experienced as football fans. You're down by one goal and the opposition suddenly decides every action is done slower when possible. Goal kicks, set pieces, feigning injuries and making substitutions. But are officials becoming less strict about these situations?

We've seen goalkeepers booked for time-wasting and outfield players booked also. But if your team is losing it creates a more negative atmosphere. If a player was to be booked for the offence it just causes more time to be wasted. One tactic that has been used over the years to secure a win is the corner flag holding technique. Play the ball into the oppositions corner flag and holding the ball until the final whistle is blown. Yet we still see the team holding the ball (that are winning) will shield the ball. With no intent to even touch the ball half the time when it is stationary frustrates the losing side. Plus the obstruction ruling seems to be forgotten about.

Ball gone out of play while being one goal up? If the home team is winning ball-boys suddenly slow down in attempting to give the ball back to the players. Goalkeepers and players will try to buy as much time to take goal kicks, throw-ins or even corners. This isn't a hate on these occurrences but a review on how modern football is evolving. This doesn't just happen in the Premier League. It happens in leagues all around the world. If you had a chance to seal a victory and knew the team you were playing has potential threats to score you would most likely attempt to kill the clock by doing as much as you could. This is essentially how most teams deal with these situations.

Cup games are perfect examples for when time-wasting occurs often. Especially due to players appearing in league games which sandwich cup ties. The cramp issue weirdly only happens during these FA Cup, EFL Cup or the Checkatrade Trophy games. Notice how players with cramp during league matches hardly happen at all. But yet, cup games they happen so often.

Say a winning side concede a freekick. What do they do to kill time? Kick the ball away from the spot it's supposed to be taken from. Even going to measures in holding onto the ball, waiting a few seconds then throwing it really high into the air to waste even more time. Yet still, players will stand right in front of where the freekick taker is taking the freekick from. Surely that's a bookable offence? No, this is 2018 we have to get on with the game. This is what infuriates many of us. Something we may occasionally rant about but officials are turning a blind eye to.

Many rules are being bent every week. And it isn't just time-wasting. How many foul throws have you seen so far this season already? How many have actually been given as a foul throw? You will be lucky to see if one has actually been given. Players are adapting as the game is evolving and referees and linesmen are being taken advantage of in most cases. It isn't a cry for help but a realization of what we really understand as rulings in a modern sport. Is time-wasting getting worse? Or do you think it has always been the same?

Jamie Kynaston

For my sins, I'm a season ticket holder at Stoke City, I have been proud to watch them for over 20 years. I follow most of the UK leagues and the major European ones too, and I've been told that I talk way too much about football.

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