Soccer Clock Rules

Just like many other sports, an official keeps the time of a soccer match. However, unlike many timed sports, soccer matches are longer and the game clock does not stop running. Let’s learn what a running clock means and how this can affect the players and the game as a whole. In this tutorial, we'll briefly discuss the match format, game clock, added time and extra time.

The Game Clock

The rules of timing and the game structure of a soccer match can be a bit confusing to understand.

The single, running clock is one of the most important (and beloved) parts of soccer. While there are slight variations depending on the league and competition, soccer timekeeping is fairly straightforward and standardized. In Association Football, there are two halves of time. Each half is 45 minutes in length.

The running clock does not stop, (it is always running!) which means the players are playing on the pitch for a true 45 minutes each half.

Soccer Game Clock


Unlike other sports, there are no timeouts in soccer. Teams only regroup in between halves. In fact, the game clock will keep ticking even if the referee signals a stoppage of play for things like an injury, hazard on the pitch or a medical issue. So what happens then? Do players lose playing time if an injury or hazard occur? Time does not stop in soccer, so instead, time will be added to the end of each half called stoppage time.

There is a lot of terms related to the timing rules of soccer. Here is a list of related concepts in soccer: