Uefa Denounces 100-Minute Matches as ‘Crazy’ and ‘Tragedy,’ Rejects Champions League Adoption

Uefa has strongly criticized the concept of 100minute matches, labeling them as “crazy,” “absurd,” and a “tragedy,” while simultaneously dismissing the possibility of the Champions League adopting this trend following in the footsteps of the Premier League and the World Cup.

Zvonimir Boban, Uefa’s Chief of Football, voiced his support for players who have raised concerns about burnout and the extended playing time. He emphatically stated, “It’s crazy—it’s too much so we will not do this.” This response comes amidst recent instructions from the games governing bodies to measure time lost due to stoppages more accurately.

Although the 100minute approach was implemented at the World Cup in Qatar last year and received a largely positive reception, players like Kevin De Bruyne from Manchester City and Manchester Uniteds defender Raphael Varane, along with players’ unions, have vocally opposed the added physical and mental toll.

This season, the Premier League has witnessed an average ball-in-play time of 59 minutes and 20 seconds, almost five minutes longer than the previous season’s average of 54 minutes and 52 seconds. Uefa’s opposition to this policy was reaffirmed by Roberto Rosetti, Head of Referees, who noted that the Champions League already has an average ball-in-play time of 60 minutes due to referees being encouraged to expedite stoppages.

Rosetti explained, “There is something more important than the accuracy of additional time. Why do people like the Champions League so much? Because it’s intensive, it’s fantastic, the players never stop. We tell our referees to speed up the restart of play instead of this [focus] on stoppage time.”

While most domestic competitions have followed Fifa’s lead in adding on the exact time lost to goal celebrations, injuries, and substitutions, Boban argued that such measures are unnecessary. He denounced the policy as “absolutely absurd,” citing research that highlights the strain placed on top talents due to congested schedules. According to FifPro, Jude Bellingham has played more competitive minutes (15,000) by his current age than Michael Owen, Frank Lampard, and David Beckham combined.

Speaking about player welfare, Boban expressed concern about the toll of added minutes, stating, “When you play 60, 65 minutes… when you get tired, it’s the last 30 minutes of the game. And then somebody comes and adds another 15, 12, 14 minutes of the game, for what reason?”

Boban acknowledged that English teams are particularly aware of these challenges due to their demanding schedules. “And now we add to them, probably six, seven minutes more per game — it’s almost 500 minutes more per season. That is six games. It’s crazy. It’s too much so we will not do this. We will follow our guidelines.”

Rosetti, speaking in Monaco ahead of the Champions League draw, also discussed efforts to attract more referees to the profession. He praised the Football Association’s project of trialing points deductions for grassroots teams displaying dissent toward officials, suggesting that this initiative could potentially be adopted elsewhere.