New guidelines to increase ball in play time in football matches through increased added time is a clear case of placing too much importance on what is easy to measure – ball in play time – rather than measuring what is actually important – the quality of the on-field product.
The single biggest driver of effective playing time is the on-field technical quality of play – not time wasting, as is commonly believed. This is why the Premier League has 15% more ball in play time than League Two, and the Champions League 5% more than the Premier League. Better players and teams keep the ball in play.
Maximising the quality of technical play is therefore the biggest lever law-makers and competition organisers can pull to improve effective playing time. Extending the physical demands on players through longer matches will almost certainly not do this.