Also known as stoppage time or added time (but different from extra time), this is the time given at the end of each half of a football match to make up for delays in the play. The referee decides exactly how much to give after the allotted 45 minutes are over, and his decision is announced to the crowd.

The name derives from the fact that the most severe stoppages tend to be due to injuries on the pitch. However referees also give time for other forms of delay, such as free kicks which take ten minutes to be taken, or incidents such as those where the ball goes out of the ground and nobody knows where the replacements are.

For a long time in the history of the sport the concept was practically unheard-of; matches ran to 90 minutes and if there was a five-minute delay for whatever reason, well that was just taken as a part of the game.

The practice didn't really begin until the 1990s, when injury time started to last more than just a minute or two. By the turn end of the decade it had become commonplace for referees to add a total of six or seven minutes over both halves, and the idea of a game lasting 90 minutes was pretty much dead. A good example was England's World Cup qualifier against Italy in 1997, which ran to over 100 minutes. Final acceptance of its inevitability in the modern game came with the introduction of the practice whereby the amount given at the end of each half is announced over the loudspeaker and on the fourth official's electronic board.

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