How long is a football game?

While informal football matches in local settings can be as long or short as participants decide, structured professional football games adhere to standardized durations.

Generally, a football match lasts about 105 minutes. However, this duration might extend due to game circumstances. This means players should be prepared to stay focused for prolonged periods.

Youth Football Duration: A Closer Look

The time a youth football game takes depends largely on the players' age. These rules, while essential, may differ across nations.

Both the United States Youth football Association and the American Youth football Organization provide guidelines for youth football durations. The prescribed durations are quite similar, with only slight variations. As players age, match lengths increase.

  • UNDER 6:
    • US Youth football: Four 6-minute quarters. No overtime.
    • AYSO: Two 10-minute halves with halftime ranging between 5-10 minutes. Overtime isn't addressed.
  • UNDER 8:
    • US Youth football: Four 12-minute quarters. No overtime.
    • AYSO: Two 20-minute halves.
  • UNDER 10: Both associations advise two 25-minute halves. Overtime isn't mentioned.
  • UNDER 12:
    • US Youth football: Two 30-minute halves. Potential overtime consists of two 10-minute halves.
    • AYSO: Same game duration without reference to overtime.
  • UNDER 14: Two 35-minute halves, with US Youth football suggesting an overtime of two 10-minute halves.
  • UNDER 16: Both recommend two 40-minute halves. Additionally, US Youth football mentions two 15-minute halves for overtime.
  • UNDER 19: Both bodies advise two 45-minute halves with a possible overtime of two 15-minute halves.

Professional Football Duration

Professionally, football matches last 90 minutes, split into two 45-minute halves. Following the first half, players get a 15-minute rest. While theoretically it totals 105 minutes, games often go beyond that.

Referees might add a few minutes of stoppage time at each half's conclusion, compensating for delays caused by various factors.

In situations like knock-out rounds, where a decisive winner is essential, matches might go into overtime after a short 5-minute break. This additional 30-minute duration is split into two 15-minute halves, each potentially having added stoppage time. If the tie persists post-overtime, penalty shootouts determine the winner.

Key Points to Remember

  • Quarters in football: Professional games consist of two halves. Yet, some youth matches can have multiple quarters, based on US Youth football Association guidelines.
  • Football Halftime Duration: FIFA mandates a 15-minute interval between the two halves.
  • Viewing Duration: Though standard play lasts 105 minutes, knockout stage matches might exceed this, especially if it reaches penalty shootouts.
  • Extra Periods: These thrilling 30-minute extensions resolve ties after regular time. While historically the “golden goal” rule declared the first scorer in extra time as the winner, this rule has largely been phased out.
  • Football Clock Direction: football clocks count upwards for simplicity, ensuring the game is globally accessible even with basic timekeeping. This also facilitates easy tracking of added time during stoppages.

Concluding Thoughts

Hopefully, this clarifies football game durations. If you're planning to watch a match, ensure you've set aside enough time, especially if the game stretches beyond the standard 105 minutes. Time regulations apply consistently across both men’s and women's football matches.