Whenever you play a game, you do not expect it to go on for hours and hours. Most games are limited to 90 minutes because there is only so much the human body can take. Therefore, the 90-minute rule has generally been implemented in most professional games.
Despite the time limit, many games often go overtime due to tied scores. However, some games are extended deliberately. The deliberate extension of a match rarely happens in professional matches. However, some people extend games intending to break records or raise money for charity.
The extension of soccer games used to be a recurring occurrence in the past. After the first 90-minutes were over, to settle the score, the players played till one team scored. Therefore, matches went on for way longer.
If you want to find out about the longest soccer game ever played in history, there are two contenders. Read ahead to find out.
Usual Soccer Game Length and Rules
The general rules of a soccer game are pretty straightforward and aim to end the match within 90 minutes. However, it can sometimes go beyond it but not by much.
A usual soccer game is 90-minutes and divided into two halves of 45 minutes. Other than the break in between the two halves, there are no breaks unless there is an injury. When such an event happens, the stoppage or injury time is usually added to the primary 90-minutes of the game. Therefore, no matter the delays, a soccer game lasts for 90 minutes at least.
Mainly delays occur in a game when a player is injured and needs medical attention. If the player cannot continue the game, a substitute has to be sent, which may take up time as well. Furthermore, delays can also happen if there is an appeal or the referee has to decide on fouls.
Playing soccer is extremely demanding. Therefore, it is unadvised that the players play extremely long matches. There are many reasons for such a ruling.
For example, playing long matches can cause fatigue and muscle cramps, which may cause the player to suffer from an injury. Since a player’s health is of utmost importance, any injury-causing situation must be avoided at all costs.
Furthermore, after a certain time, even the best players cannot perform their best because they are plagued with fatigue and muscle cramps. Thus, to continue a match beyond a player’s stamina will result in either injury or a boring match where all the players are tired and cannot show off their usual energy.
However, sometimes players cannot avoid extending a match. When the 90-minutes are over with a tied score, the game must go on to determine a winner. In this case, the game goes to extra time, consisting of two 15-minute halves. During this time, whichever team scores more win the game.
If even after the extra time the scores are tied, the game continues with penalty shootouts to determine the winner.
The Longest Soccer Games
With the general soccer rules in mind, it seems almost impossible that a match can extend beyond the 90-minute time limit. However, there have been matches that have gone on for more than 100 hours. Here are two examples.
The 108-Hour Soccer Match
One soccer game in England broke all-time restrictions for soccer and went on for about 108 hours. This game continued for four and a half days, but it was all for a good cause.
This 108-hour game was played among the members of Heartbeat United, who divided themselves into two teams. This match occurred in May 2016 and went on for four days, 12 hours, and two minutes.
This 108-hour match was a charity match intended to honor the deaths of three local players; Matt Grimestone, Jacob Schilt, and Matt Chaplain. Matt Grimestobe and Jacob Schilt died in an airshow accident, while Matt Chaplain passed away in 2013 due to a heart attack.
The main aim of this soccer match was to break the previous world record, and they succeeded in doing so. Before the match commenced, the Guinness Book of World Records was also invited so that they could, later on, verify the match.
Thus, this match was certified and entered into the Guinness book of world records. Therefore, this 108-hour match is one example of a soccer match played for charity. Due to their long playtime, those attempting to play such matches need to have backups who can take over.
It is physically impossible for someone to stay awake for more than four days and still be able to run around a field in high spirits. Therefore, the entirety of Heartbeat United came together to make this game possible.
In addition, this is a great way to honor those who lost their lives, as it acts as a tribute to their passion, soccer. The money raised through this match would have also been put to good use. Therefore, even though this match may have been extremely draining, both physically and mentally for the players, it was for a good cause and supported people in need.
Even though this match does not involve Premier League teams, the overall dynamic and workings of the match are interesting to watch. It is available on Youtube if you want to see how the players of Heartbeat United managed to make a match last more than four days.
The 169-Hour soccer Match
A 108-hour-long match sounds impossible. However, there was another match, that went on for longer, and it too was played in England. This match went on for 169 hours and took place in 169 hours. As it surpassed the older record, it now holds the title for the longest soccer match ever.
Just like the 108-hour match between Heartbeat United, this match was also played for charity and lasted for seven days and one hour.
This match was held by KOAC, which stands for Kicking Off Against Cancer. This foundation aims to help people suffering from cancer. They do this by aiding them financially or emotionally. In any way that they can.
KOAC hold fundraising programs through which they gather money to aid cancer patients who have to have procedures done. They also set up events with happy atmospheres so that the patients can fully enjoy themselves and for a few hours, forget about their problems and have fun.
They broke the world record for the longest soccer game in history and did it again in 2019. In the beginning, they aimed to help as many suffering families as possible. Due to their noble pursuit, many people showed up and volunteered to make this match a possibility. They brought donations, love, and support because of which this event was a success.
The first match took place indoors with indoor soccer balls, and went on for quite some time, and they raised an impressive 12000 pounds for charity. To rival this amount, in 2019, they played a match at The Air Dome at Cardiff City House of Sports. This match began on Sunday 14th and ended on Sunday 21st after seven whole days and one hour.
After the match was over, the players confessed that it was emotionally draining to play soccer for that long. One of the criteria for the match was that there would be 36 players in total, which were to be divided into two teams of 18. These players had to play nonstop, and could only take a break when they played for one hour. This break was a mere five-minute break.
Many of the players who participated also reportedly broke into tears due to sheer exhaustion, and they also took naps during the interval to keep themselves going.
Despite the hardships faced during the match, the players raised a large sum of money. The money raised was used to pay for procedures and send the suffering families on various adventures so that they could make happy memories. Some adventures included concerts, pony trekking, Disney Ice, a weekend in London, etc.
This match, although emotional to watch and draining on the players, depicted the value and hardship of enduring any difficulty in life. This match was essentially a celebration of those who were suffering but endured and refused to give up.
Soccer is a beloved game that is enjoyed by people all around the world. To keep the game at an acceptable length, both for the players and for the viewers, it is often capped at 90-minutes and rarely goes on more than 30 minutes overtime.
However, some matches are played to be extremely long. These are usually done either for charity or to break a world record. The longest match ever played was held by KOAC to raise money for patients who suffer from cancer.
The players who took part in this match played for seven days and one hour to raise a handsome sum of money. This amount not only paid for their procedure, but also allowed KOAC to send them on trips for their emotional wellbeing.