I heard this mentioned the other day and I figured I would throw my terry two cents worth on the internet for everyone to see. Football is currently a sport of two halves of 45 minutes each + stoppage time (time added on for stoppages in play). Personally, I do not think this will happen, even if it did football has a whole host of other things to deal with first.
I also do not think that it is necessary, as a player you want to play and if you were to go down to 4 quarters of 25 mins for example then you end up spending more time getting a break and less time playing. So, it’s great for people who think the fitness aspect of football is too hard, but that is one of the best parts about football. If you like football but hate running play FIFA or become a goalkeeper.
2 halves compared to 4 quarters also creates a more open game. An open end to end game of football is an exciting spectacle. This generally happens towards the end of the halves, in particular the last half. Many, many goals have come late in matches as a result of tired and fatigued players making mistakes they would not normally make. Not only is it more exhausting physically but it is also more exhausting mentally to have 2 halves instead of 4 quarters. Once again adding to the openness of the game.
By having 4 quarters you create more stoppages. This means that the game goes a lot slower. We do not want football turning into NFL where a 60-minute game takes 3 hours of coverage. You could reduce the break times in between quarters to pick up the speed of the game but if you do that … why not just have 2 halves.
4 quarters of football brings other negative impacts aside from the one I mentioned in my last post. Namely a more closed game. By giving player more and more time to rest it enables them to recover both physically and mentally. This means that they can get their concentration back meaning that fewer and fewer mistakes are being made because players are not suffering from fatigue. This then leads to less goals. Its already hard enough to score goals as it is, let’s not make it any harder.
I would also wonder what sort of impact that would have on substitutions. Generally speaking, you sub players for two reasons. They are tired, or you are changing something tactically. If you have more breaks you would take away one of those reasons. Players being tired. Now I’m not saying that players will fully recover in 10 mins after running around on a field they will still get tired. But not to the extent that they normally would. This would mean that substitutes would almost be reserved for tactical changes and injuries. This may limit the opportunities of those players to play unless the right circumstance arises. The impact of a fresh player as well would be weakened. There is nothing worse in a match than marking a player who does not stop running, finally gets tired and then gets substituted for someone completely fresh. But if you have the game in quarters, then players recover and someone coming on at the start of the 4th quarter would have a lesser impact then the same player coming on in the 35th minute of a second half. At least from a physical point of view.
This would also restrict the opportunity for youth players. Youth players who rise through an academy system very rarely start straight away. They usually start from the bench and then are slowly introduced into the senior team assuming that they are good enough. Young players are also usually the ones who go on in place of tired players as they are in most circumstances pacey, agile and quick. By going to 4 quarters I think it would close the game up and teams would have to rely on the skill of their players and coaches in order to get the win as opposed to a tired opposition. I also think that it will limit the opportunities given to substitutes especially youth players who go on to gain valuable experience at the end of matches when players are tired.
There are however some groups of people who would probably like football going to 4 quarters. Some fans would probably appreciate the switch. Football is one of those games where if you are away from the game for 15 seconds you can miss a goal. This is true in other sports however it only occurs vary rarely, intercept tries and tries off charge downs in rugby are an example of this. So, fans who want to get up and go get food, or go to the bathroom for example, risk missing out on the action. 4 quarters would benefit them because instead of 20 minutes in, needing to go to the bathroom and having to hold it until half time they could go and have a break at the 25-minute mark. This is true for fans who see the game live at the stadium or ones at home watching on the TV.
TV networks would also benefit immensely from this as it provides an opportunity to display more advertisements in the quarter breaks. TV advertising is extremely effective and is also extremely expensive. More available advertisements equal more money for the broadcaster so I would assume that they would also perhaps be in favor of the switch.
Continuing from this those companies that want to advertise on the TV during the game would also benefit from the game going to 4 quarters. More available advertisement slots might drop the price, meaning that companies who couldn’t afford it before might be able to. This is a benefit in itself but would also (hopefully) have a positive impact on that business’s performance provided their product or service was good enough to back up the ad. So, I don’t think everyone would be against it but I still do not think that it would be a positive change in the game.
From the point of view of a coach, it really varies. As a coach myself if my team is absolutely annihilating another team, I do not want the game to stop. If we(my team) are all over them in the first 20 mins and we are scoring goals then I do not want that stop. Even more so if we are dominating and have not scored yet. Momentum is so important in a football game and by giving teams the chance to reset every 20 – 25mins it ruins the chance to build and build momentum. Momentum is also very fragile and something as little as little as a couple minute stoppage can change it or break it. That’s why you see teams who are under pressure start fouling, they do it to disrupt and slow the game down to slow the momentum of the other team.
That works both ways though, if I was a coach and my team was getting hammered, I would want the game to be slowed down and as many interruptions as possible to disrupt the other team. In this situation 4 quarters would be a benefit to a coach.
It would also be easier in my opinion to close out quarters instead of halves. If a less skillful team is winning a game or perhaps drawing a game it is easier, in my opinion for that team to hold on to that advantage. This is because instead of holding on for the last 30 mins of match for example they would only have to hold on for 3 minutes and then get a chance to reset and recover. 4 quarters would mean potentially more upsets, games would be closer but slower and, in my opinion, more boring. People watch a sport like football to be entertained and for me entertainment is action, by slowing the game down you rob football of its action and make it more pragmatic.
So, no I do not think that football will ever go to 4 quarters, even if it did it would not be for the for see able future.