Potential implications upon Stadia Design of playing a single 60-minute game without a half-time interval, on a ‘stop – start’ basis.

It is understood that there is growing interest in an experiment to alter the format of a traditional football game, i.e. 90 minutes split equally into two 45-minute halves with a 15-minute half-time interval to a single, 60-minute game without an interval, but played on the basis that when there is a break in play, i.e. as a result of foul or a substitution that the clock is stopped, similar to other sports, i.e. American Football and Basketball. It appears that early experiments have shown that the duration of a football game played on this basis, results similarly in an approximate 90-minute game.

The potential implications upon stadia design as a result of the simple omission of the half-time interval within the sport of football could be enormous, and it is an experiment that has all stadia owners, operators and designers studying with keen interest.

For example, the extent of the provision of food and beverage services and the length of concourse concessions and numbers of points of sale, together with male and female toilet facilities, are designed specifically to cope with an exact number of spectators, nominally 50% of the terrace spectator population using either or both of the facilities over the course of the ‘half-time window’, considered as being 20 minutes in duration to cater for those spectators that choose to leave their seats 5 minutes prior to half-time in order to avoid the anticipated rush’. In its most simple terms, no half-time interval leads potentially to no rush and a completely different ‘science’ to be applied to design of stadia concourse provision.

An anticipated reduction in the intensity of use of both the concessions and the W.C. facilities as a result of the omission of the half-time interval, would obviously lead to a reduction of the provision required and, therefore, greater flexibility in stadia concourse design and a greater depth and breadth of concession food and beverage offer for example.

The greater flexibility may well, however, lead to what many spectators would consider as the inconvenience of spectators more regularly leaving and returning to their seats and the ‘imposition’ of having to stand to allow spectators to pass along narrow seat rows to the stadia gangways and vomitories.  The solutions, perhaps a complete re-think of the minimum acceptable terrace depths required to say 1100mm that readily allow spectators to pass along the seating rows or more radically, the introduction of ‘in-seat’ hospitality service. To the spectator with a more traditional view on the duration and make up of a football game as two 45 minute halves with a 15-minute half-time period, the experiment may seem alarming, but to those spectators with less traditional fan experience expectations, whom understand the potential theatre of say, the recently introduced experiments with the ability for the game referee to refer decisions to a video referee, a 5th game official, stopping a game as such a ……………. and perhaps being permitted may seem enormously appealing