# What is the rationale behind the clock in soccer counting up?

Asked by AstroChuck (37006) June 25th, 2010

It’s something that always drives me nuts. Every other sport that I can think of that uses a clock always has the time counting down. Why does soccer have it counting up instead? It would be nice to know exactly how much time is left in a game.

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(Wondered that myself once I figure out that that’s what it was doing.)

janbb (49662)

It basically has to do with the fact that the halves are never exactly 45 minutes on the clock. For basketball, there is a clock official that can hear all the whistles and such. Therefore they can start and stop the clock. In soccer that doesn’t exactly work so the official on the field keeps the time. I guess instead of having the clock run past 45:00 the could countdown and have it go into negative numbers.

sleepdoc (4678)

@sleepdoc- But the clock counts down in the NFL. Why should that be any different?

AstroChuck (37006)

Once one knows how long the period of play is for a particular level of soccer, it is no great matter to know how much time there is left until the end of the period.

Yes it is different from many other sports but it is no less valid or accurate than counting down.

In hockey the clock counts down but goals are recorded according to the elapsed time since the beginning of the period.

Is this not true of American and Canadian football as well?

Dr_Lawrence (19555)

@AstroChuck… in the NFL there is a start and stop to everyplay. And timeouts and the like. Just because a player decides to take some extra time to scrape himself up and resume play doesn’t mean time stops in soccer. That is left to the discretion of the referee to decide.

sleepdoc (4678)

I’ve always been baffled by clocks counting backwards in some sports. In football, the clocks count up – anyone who wants to know how long is left can do the maths in their head. This happens because the last set must be completed after the siren, so the half may last for over forty minutes. It is the same for soccer, because in soccer there can be penalty time that is added on to the play time at the end of the match.

It’s just a tradition. Of course it would work the other way round too.

mattbrowne (31532)

The time clock in soccer counts up because FIFA wants to avoid the need for a dedicated timekeeping official, which can be a hardship in poorer areas of the world. (This is also why referees add stoppage time instead of stopping the clock, use yellow and red cards instead of a penalty box, and refuse to allow referees to use video replays.)

FIFA wants the game to be played the same way at all levels of play, regardless of whether it’s at some youth league in a poor third-world nation or at the World Cup finals.

asdf1234 (17)

Because there’s no buzzer to end the game, so the clock can just keep going, instead of hitting zero.

cfrydj (919)

See because with football we do things differently/better than all those pussy yank “games” do. Easy really, oh times up.

ucme (44292)

Since the referee gets to decide when the game ends, the clock cant run down to 0. This way you know about where you are in the game, but th referee has some discretion over the game as well. It isn’t about the clock, so much as about how the ref and the game and the players interact.

MissyR (16)