Why Kuipers Added Five Minutes to the Champions League Final
Bjorn Kuipers is a good referee.
And for the most part, his part in the 4-1 Real Madrid extra time win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Final was played well. If you’re a Real Madrid fan, you thought he was great.
Unfortunately, for everyone else – Atletico Madrid fans and neutrals – what he did well is overshadowed by a single question:
Why did he add five minutes of extra time to the final half?
That decision had an absolute effect on the game, turning it from a game Atletico nearly won to a thrashing. There seemed, to the neutral, to be no rational reason for so much time, and most people expected a stoppage time of closer to 2 or 3 minutes. While the equalizer came at the end of the third minute, you play a three-minute stoppage time differently than when you have five minutes to play.
But was he right?
I was skeptical of the decision myself, so I decided to look at this neutrally, and actually counted up as much of the time in the half as possible. This isn’t going to be scientific or completely accurate, obviously, but it’s close enough for government work, as we say in America.
Here is the criteria I used, from Law 7:
Allowance is made in either period for all time lost through:
- Assessment of injury to players
- Removal of injured players from the field of play for treatment
- Wasting time
- Any other cause
The allowance for time lost is at the discretion of the referee.
Here’s what I came up with:
- 51:54: Angel di Maria goes down and Atletico surround Kuipers, bumping into him and causing him to have to reassert control. By 52:15, the time wasting stops and the match is reset. 21 seconds.
- 57:55: Real make a double substitution. Throw in happens at 58:23. 28 seconds
- 65:00: Atletico make a substitution. Raul Garcia takes his sweet time getting off the pitch. Throw in at 65:42. 42 seconds
- 71:49: Iker Casillas is shaken up after a collision with David Villa, requiring an injury assessment (no treatment). Game restarts by 72:15. 21 seconds
- 73:27: Angel di Maria is shaken up, requiring an injury assessment (no treatment). Game restarts at 73:56. 30 seconds
- 78:00: Real make a substitution. Throw in at 78:11 11 seconds
- 80:59: Gabi does a dramatic roll from a foul and lays face down on the ground. Atletico and Real players start sparring. This requires time to sort out the injury assessment (requiring minimal treatment) and separate the players. Then there was an Atletico substitution. Play finally restarts at 82:45. 1 minute and 46 seconds.
- 84:19: Atletico player lands awkwardly and takes his time getting up from the injury assessment (no treatment). Corner is taken at 84:54. 35 seconds
Total Time: 294 seconds or…
Kuipers and team got it exactly right. It felt as if it should have been less because the incidents were each short and spread out. The injuries were all shaken off quickly and no one really required much treatment. It was easy to lose track of just how much time was being spent.
But note that the vast majority of this time was spent by Atletico Madrid while they had a 1-0 lead. It took longer for Garcia to saunter off the pitch than for Real to make all three of their substitutions combined. Basically, Atletico tried to burn time and it bit them in the ass.
But you can’t blame the referee for that.
Featured photo: dailymail.co.uk