Full Time (FT)

What Does Full Time (FT) Mean In Soccer?

Full time is the point when the official 90 minutes of a full match have elapsed, plus any additional time. Time is added on by the referee to compensate for injuries to players that require treatment, substitutions or deliberate time-wasting by players (also called “stoppage time”).

These interruptions might include injuries, substitutions, or any other incidents that disrupt the match’s flow. Consequently, full time usually stretches beyond the 90-minute mark, and the referee declares the match’s end with a final whistle when they deem the full time – including stoppage time – has been played.

When full time is called by the referee you will usually see the abbreviation ‘FT’ next to the score of the match, which means this is now the final result.

Key Takeaways

  • Full time in soccer refers to the conclusion of a standard match duration, primarily 90 minutes plus stoppage time.
  • The referee is responsible for managing full time and incorporating additional stoppage time to compensate for interruptions and injuries.
  • Understanding full time is essential for players, coaches, and fans, as it influences game outcomes, strategy, and the distinction between different soccer formats.

Full Time in Soccer: The Basics

In soccer, Full Time (FT) refers to the end of a standard match, which typically comprises 90 minutes of playtime, split into two halves of 45 minutes each. When this period, plus any extra injury time, has concluded, the referee blows the final whistle to signal the game’s end. This point in the game is crucial, as it confirms the match’s result, cementing a home win, away win, or draw.

The addition of injury time, also known as stoppage time, adds a few minutes to the end of each half. It accommodates for pauses in gameplay, such as injuries or substitutions, to ensure a fair and complete match. The referee determines and announces the amount of injury time before the end of each half.

What Does Full Time (FT) Mean In Soccer?

In some cases, a match may not reach the full 90 minutes due to specific circumstances, such as a suspended game. When the game resumes, the remaining time will be played rather than a complete 90-minute match. This flexibility is in accordance with FIFA guidelines.

In summary, Full Time in soccer refers to the culmination of a game when the teams have completed 90 minutes of play, plus any additional injury time. It is a critical marker in the sport, as it determines the final result and establishes a victor or a draw.

Duration of Full Time

In soccer, full time (FT) refers to the end of a match when 90 minutes of regulation play, plus any added injury time, have been completed. A standard soccer game consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, with a 15-minute halftime break in between.

The additional injury time, also known as stoppage time, accounts for pauses in the match caused by factors such as injuries, substitutions, and other stoppages in play. Stoppage time is added at the discretion of the referee, and it typically ranges from 1 to 5 minutes per half, depending on the situation.

An entire soccer match, inclusive of stoppage time and halftime, takes an average of 1 hour and 52 minutes (112 minutes) to complete. Excluding stoppage time, the total duration would be around 1 hour and 45 minutes (105 minutes). It is important to note that the length of a soccer match may vary depending on the level of competition, age groups, and specific league regulations.

In some cases, soccer matches may need to be decided beyond full time – through additional periods called extra time, or penalty shootouts. These situations usually occur in knockout stages of tournaments, where a winner must be determined. Extra time consists of two 15-minute halves, separated by a brief 5-minute break. If the match remains tied after extra time, a penalty shootout ensues to determine the victor.

However, extra time does not affect the definition of full time in soccer. The term “full time” still refers to the end of the 90 minutes of regulation play, plus any added injury time. To refer to the end of 120 minutes, including extra time, the phrase “after extra time” is used instead.

Role of Referee in Full Time Management

Keeping Game Time

A soccer game consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes. The referee plays a crucial role in managing the time for each half. They keep track of the time on the field and make any necessary adjustments for added time, such as stoppages or injury time. The referee uses a timer or stopwatch to monitor the game time accurately.

Injury Time

In addition to the standard 45 minutes per half, the referee must account for any time lost to injuries, substitutions, or any other factors that might cause a delay in play. The referee is responsible for determining the amount of injury time to be added at the end of each half. This ensures a fair game for both teams, providing ample opportunity to resume gameplay after disruptions.

Stoppage Time

Stoppage time, also known as added time or extra time, is the additional time added by the referee to make up for various interruptions that occurred during the game. These interruptions can include injuries, substitutions, or other events that caused a pause in the match. The referee notes each instance of stoppage and calculates the total added time to ensure a fair and regulated game duration. Once the calculated time has elapsed, the referee will signal for full time by blowing their whistle, indicating the end of the match.

Full Time and Match Outcomes

Draw Decisions

A soccer match consists of two halves of 45 minutes each, making the official match length 90 minutes. Full time (FT) is the point when the allocated playtime, including stoppage time, has elapsed, and the referee blows their whistle to signify the game’s end. A draw is one of the three potential outcomes in soccer, along with a home win and an away win.


In some cases, such as knockout tournaments, a match may end in a draw after full time, warranting the addition of extra time or overtime. It is essential to recognize that the term FT does not include overtime. The purpose of overtime is to give both teams an opportunity to secure a win within an additional, predetermined time frame. Often, this comprises two halves of 15 minutes each, totaling 30 minutes of extra play.

Penalty Shootouts

If the game remains a draw after the allocated overtime, a penalty shootout will be used to determine the winner. Each team selects five players to take penalty kicks, alternating turns, with the highest-scoring side ultimately crowned the match victor. In case of a tie after the initial five kicks from each team, sudden-death penalty rounds will ensue until a winner emerges. It is noteworthy that penalty shootouts are used only in specific competitive contexts, such as tournaments or cup matches, whereas regular league matches can conclude as draws.

Effects on Technical Decisions

Player Substitutions

In soccer, full time (FT) refers to the end of the game when the referee signals that 90 minutes (plus stoppage time) have been played. This crucial point affects the technical decisions by the coaches, particularly in terms of player substitutions. Throughout the game, a coach must manage their players’ physical conditions and decide which players to bring in to replace those on the field. As the match approaches full time, the coach needs to carefully consider how each substitution can help secure or change the result.

Coaches often opt for a more defensive approach when leading the game, in anticipation of full-time. They might substitute an attacking player for a more defensive-minded one to maintain their advantage or utilize a player with better time management skills. On the other hand, if the team is behind, the coach will likely make a more attacking substitution to chase an equalizer or winning goal before the game ends.

Tactical Strategies

As the game reaches full time, coaches and players must also adapt their tactical strategies. A team that is ahead may choose to:

  • Hold possession: Keep the ball amongst the players and deny the opposing team the opportunity to score.
  • Slow down the pace: Waste time and manage the remaining minutes to maintain the lead.
  • Tighten up the defense: Focus on preventing the opposition from creating goal-scoring opportunities.

In contrast, a team that is losing may adopt the following tactics:

  • Increase tempo: Be more direct in their attacks, pushing for a quick goal to level the score or win the game.
  • Press high: Position players higher up the field to intensify pressure on the opposing defense and force errors.
  • Switch formations: Change the team’s formation to create more opportunities in the attacking third while taking necessary risks.

In conclusion, full-time considerations in soccer affect the technical decisions made by coaches and players, influencing substitution choices and tactical strategies. Recognizing the significance of these decisions can have a substantial impact on the outcome of the match.