Bjorn Kuipers: Mr. Right

My post breaking down Bjorn Kuipers’ decision to add five minutes to the end of the Champions League final has caused a bit of a stir. (Hi, all of The Netherlands!)

It’s hard to argue the numbers, so the main dissent has been that he was inconsistent between the first and second halves, and somehow that “proves” he was wrong. I really don’t get this, since the time is counted separately for each half, but still… Several people challenged me to count up all the time in the first half to “prove” he should have only given one minute.

And since it’s a holiday here in the US and I live to please, here you go!

A few caveats:

  1. The time really is up to the officials’ discretion and these are not perfectly accurate. They’re just a best guess.
  2. Time to reset the game after a goal or a foul isn’t usually taken into account. So, a celebration would count and arguing with the referee would probably count, but getting the game started again wouldn’t.
  3. Television coverage here in the US is pretty rotten (I hate you, Fox), so I didn’t always get the exact time and had to time things myself. So, again, not science.

For a refresher on what’s considered for stoppage time and what isn’t, read Law 7.

So, what did I find in the first half?

There were only three incidents I feel comfortable saying for sure that would have added time:

  • 8:44: Diego Costa subbed out. Throw in at 9:01. 17 seconds
  • 26:06: Fight. Real Madrid players argue a call while Angel Di Maria gets injury assessment. Game resets at 26:33. 27 seconds (I’d say this is a bit generous; I lost track of when they were separated due to television coverage)
  • 35:28: Goal. Atletico celebration ends and players are back on pitch by 36:25. 27 seconds*

Total: 71 seconds

There were two incidents where I couldn’t tell what he would do:

  • 15:37: A little pushing and shoving between Coentrao and Gabi. Indeterminate
  • 22:55: Ramos’ boot came off. Play resumes 23:20. 25 seconds

I would say the first probably wouldn’t be considered for stoppage time, because it sorted out very quickly. I would think that the second would, but I don’t know for sure. Maybe one of our referee friends could chime in….

Even with being very generous, you have a max of about 96 seconds, so not quite 2 minutes.

Therefore, Kuipers was within his rights to give one minute, and I think he’s right. Again.

Seems like he’s always right, doesn’t it? He must be miserable to play pub quiz with…

Look, I wanted Atletico to win. I wanted the little guy to triumph. I was upset about the call, too, but looking at it neutrally, I can’t find any smoking gun that said the referee did anything wrong or influenced the outcome.

*I’ve since heard that some referees only count celebrations that they consider to be “excessive”, which this clearly wasn’t. Again, I don’t know for sure that’s the case here, but if so this is even closer to one minute.

Read the analysis of the second half.


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