New rules regarding time-wasting tactics are set to be implemented in England ahead of the 2023/24 season. The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has announced that they will tweak how they gauge added time for the upcoming campaign. This new focus will affect English Football League (EFL) and Premier League matches.

The Guardian reports one of the key areas of concern is goal celebrations. Matchday referees are set to determine how long these celebrations last and then add the appropriate time to the game. However, the move will also affect most situations in which the ball is dead. This includes free kicks, corner kicks, and penalties.

Refs asked to book players for infraction of rule

Injuries, as well as players faking injuries, will impact the potential stoppage time. Soccer fans have been growing increasingly frustrated over the so-called ‘dark arts’ in the sport. Players frequently fake injuries and waste time taking throws, and goal kicks. Nevertheless, officials encourage referees to book players that clearly bend the laws and then add suitable time to the game. PGMOL’s new rule should deter offenders.

As a result of the new rules, matches will run longer than usual. PGMOL hopes that the alterations will help increase the time the ball is in play. This was another area of concern during the 2022/23 Premier League season. In fact, British sports analytics company Opta previously determined that the ball was in play an average of just 54 minutes throughout the most recent campaign.

Premier League suffers greatly from time-wasting

A similar study compared the total time the ball is in play with the top European leagues. The Premier League recorded the ball in play just 55.8% percent of the time last season. This was slightly lower than the German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A. The investigation also concluded that Premier League players took an average of 33 seconds to take a free kick, 30 seconds for a goal kick, and 72 total seconds for a match to resume after a goal.

These new rules debut in the opening game of the 2023/24 Championship season. Recently relegated Southampton will travel to Sheffield Wednesday on Friday, Aug. 4.

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