Gianni Infantino poses with Al Rihla, the official match ball before a press conference during the 72th FIFA Congress in Doha. File / AFP
FIFA responded on Wednesday to speculation that it might change the format of games in the World Cup by insisting the basic length of matches in Qatar would remain 90 minutes.
“Following some reports and rumours spread today, FIFA would like to clarify that there will be no changes to the rules regarding the length of football matches for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 or any other competition,” said the governing body of world football in a terse statement.
Social media, and some more traditional news outlets such as Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport, had reported that FIFA president Gianni Infantino was considering encouraging referees to play more stoppage time, effectively extending games to 100 minutes, to make up for the amount of time the ball is not in play.