Definition of Injury Time / Stoppage Time

What is the meaning of Injury Time in the game of soccer?

Injury time, also called stoppage time, is a rule in football where, at the discretion of the referee, time is added at the end of each half of the game to compensate for minutes lost due to goal celebrations, substitutions, fouls, injuries, time wasting and from time to time, crowd problems.

Soccer is a game of 90 minutes, split in two halves. Stoppage time is the time after the 45 and 90 minute marks that lasts until the final whistle. The time in soccer, unlike in a lot of other sports, keeps running during the game with no stops. A referee keeps track of the time lost and then adds it on at the end. This is usually somewhere between 1 and 6 minutes, and it is announced towards the end of each half by the sideline referee, who holds up a sign for everyone to see.

The referee is holding up a sign showing the minutes of extra time to be added at the end of the soccer match.  This time is also called injury / stoppage time.

Injury / stoppage time has been around for a long time. It keeps the game more fair, as with the running clock there are a lot of opportunities for time wasting by a team that has a favourable result. The scenes of players rolling around the grass pretending to be severely injured are a common occurrence. Some other time-wasting strategies include players taking the longest route possible to the sidelines during substitutions and taking a long time to put the ball back into play during throw-ins and goal kicks.

Injury / stoppage time, although criticized by many, is part of the sport of soccer and it keeps the game exciting and dramatic. Having said this, it would not be surprising at all, especially with the way things are evolving, if at some point in the future the running clock rule in soccer changed.