After the English Football League (EFL) and Community Shield games kicked off the English football season last weekend, the introduction of new time rules to injury time was met with much criticism from players and managers alike. 

During Arsenal’s victory over Manchester City last Sunday at Wembley Stadium, there was an additional 11 minutes of added time which ultimately led to Arsenal’s equaliser and subsequent win over the Premier League champions on penalties. 

The new rules were introduced to mitigate the use of time-wasting from teams after it was found that in-play action was dramatically reduced as a result, as well as accounting for substitutions, throw-ins and corner kicks. 

The rules will therefore mean that football games in England will last much longer than they usually do, which has drawn the ire of players such as Raphaël Varane and Kevin De Bruyne over pre-existing issues of players safety in an already congested fixture schedule. 

In his post-match interview last Sunday, De Bruyne admitted that significantly more added time ‘does not make sense’, stating: “Today (Sunday) we played 12 to 13 minutes. I can see games going for 20-25 minutes [extra]. I think this will change in one to two months, but this is the first game. 

“I’m thinking if we play Sevilla in Olympiakos (in the Uefa Super Cup Final) on Wednesday (16 August) and have 15-20 extra minutes and then play on Saturday again (against Newcastle United on 19 August) it’s like two times extra time. We’ll see how it goes, but it doesn’t make any sense.”

De Bruyne’s Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola also expressed his concern about the length of games that will now be played under the new rules. 

He said: “We have to accept it. We have to do it. Now the games will be 100 minutes, that’s for sure. They extend for goals. Every time you score a goal. (Imagine) a 4-3 and they put on 45 seconds for seven goals. Tomorrow morning at 8am we will still be here playing. Don’t ask me my opinion, please.”

Upin hearing the initial backlash to the new injury time rules, broadcasters such as Sky Sports, ITV and BBC have held internal talks over the matter. 

Broadcaster sources told the Daily Mail that they have also raised concerns as it may alter and affect their schedules moving forward. 

One player who has been highly critical of the new rules is Manchester United’s Varane, who revealed it was the Football Association’s (FA) recommendation to implement the new rules. 

Varane, in a statement via his X (formerly known as Twitter) account, condemned the decision and said that the combination of an overcrowded schedule and lengthier games will cause a burn-out for players and drops in quality. 

He stated: “From the managers and players, we have shared our concerns for many years now that there are too many games, the schedule is overcrowded, and it’s at a dangerous level for players’ physical and mental wellbeing. 

“Despite our previous feedback, they have now recommended for next season: longer games, more intensity, and less emotions to be shown by players. We just have to be in good condition on the pitch to give 100% to our club and fans. Why are our opinions not being heard?

“As a player I feel very privileged to do the job I love every day but I feel these changes are damaging our game.” 

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