What does FT mean in Soccer?

Soccer is by far the most popular sport in the world, yet it still comes with confusing sport-specific jargon that can cause you to wonder, “What does that mean?” and the term ‘FT’ is no exception.

Used across multiple sports, ‘FT’ is an abbreviation of the term ‘Full Time’ which refers to when the game has ended. However, in the world of soccer, it’s not always crystal clear when full time has been met, and durations can vary from game to game. 

This is where we come in. If you’ve recently started watching soccer on the weekends and have noticed the term pop up on your screen, or you’re simply trying to impress a friend, this guide will help you to understand once and for all what the meaning of ‘FT’ means in soccer. Just keep reading!

What does FT stand for?

In the game of soccer (otherwise referred to as football) ‘FT’ stands for ‘Full Time’. Full time is a phrase used to indicate that the allocated duration of a game has been played, and the match is now over.

When the full time has been reached, the referee will blow their whistle around their neck to signify to the players and crowd that the game has now finished.

In addition to this, full time is widely considered to be a generic term that is used across multiple different kinds of sports, including rugby and American football. It is often used in conjunction with the term ‘half-time’ and helps to distinguish between whether the game has officially ended, or whether the first half has ended. 

Half-time refers to the 45-minute mark of a soccer game. When 45 minutes of consecutive soccer has been played, then the game will be stopped so that a break interval can take place. Professionally, soccer interval breaks last for 15 minutes and give players time to have a drink, take a breather, and strategize with coaches for the next half, while reflecting on the first half. 

When full time has been reached, it means that players can no longer continue playing the game, and the score is final. In a traditional game of soccer, full time is at the 90-minute mark, however, it is not uncommon for a game to run into extra-time, which can cause the game to last for longer. This brings us onto our next section.

What is extra time and how does it impact full time?

Extra-time is an extended period of time at the end of the 90-minute duration that is intended to help select a winner. Extra-time is handled differently depending on the soccer level and impacts full time by allowing for additional periods of playing time.

At a club level or recreational level, extra-time can be handled at the discretion of the referee or players, though it is most commonly carried out by allowing for two timed periods of additional playing time. These increments consist of 5 players from each side taking free kicks to try to score a goal, and the first side to score wins.  

Similarly, at a professional level, extra time is carried out in two 15-minute increments, which also allows for additional time to cover any stoppages.

Stoppages in play can be for a number of reasons, most commonly being for goal celebrations, foul play, and injuries. If at the end of these two periods a winner has not been declared, then penalty kicks are carried out in order to determine a clear winner. 

These periods of play are known as ‘penalty shoot outs’ and consist of 5 players from each time taking turns taking a free shot at the goal. The goalkeeper from the opposing side stands in the way, and the goal is to get the ball into the net. If a player is successful at scoring the goal, then the game comes to a finish as a winner has been decided. 

In addition to this, in between each increment, teams are allowed to have a rest and recovery period of 5 minutes, which allows the team players to drink water and strategize their next moves. Though this isn’t official ‘gameplay’ time, it does contribute to the overall duration of the game and contributes to the final ‘full time’ duration. 

Are there any other instances when the term would be used?

Sometimes, full time can be used in slightly different ways that might be misleading or incorrect.

Though this doesn’t happen often, we still think it’s a good idea to talk you through this so that you do not get confused if ever you find the term to be incorrectly used. 

For example, you might encounter instances where a person refers to full time and extra-time as separate entities. By this we mean, someone might say that a draw occurred full-time, which caused extra-time to ensue so that a clear winner could be declared.

Now, though it might be obvious that they meant the intended 90-minute duration had finished with no clear winner, as you will have discovered above, extra-time falls into the overall full-time duration, so this is an instance where full time would have been used incorrectly. 

In contrast, if said correctly, they would have noted that, though the full-time whistle was blown at the 90-minute mark, the game was not over as there was not yet a clear winner.

Therefore, extra time was added to the game in order to allow each team to go head to head in a knockout penalty shootout in order to declare a winning team, therefore extending the full-time duration. 

In addition to that, though full time is used to refer to the end of the 90-minute game duration, another common mistake people make is forgetting to include any of the additional stoppage times.

With that being said, the longer and more frequent the stoppages in play are, the longer amount of time the referee will add to the end of each half. This is a strict rule in both professional and club soccer, though additional stoppage periods might not be added to recreational games. 

The confusion likely comes down to the fact that multiple aspects of soccer contribute to what is deemed to be full time, including:

  1. 90-minute duration
  2. Stoppages
  3. Extra-time

It’s an easy mistake to make, as full time refers to the end of the 90 minutes of soccer. While, for the most part, this is correct for the majority of games, sometimes extra-time needs to be added for stoppages or penalty shootouts, which inevitably tallies up the overall ‘full time’ duration.

Once you get your head around how these three factors each contribute to the overall duration of the match and subsequent ‘Full Time’, using the term correctly will be a walk in the park. 

In addition to this, both ‘Full Time’ and ‘Half Time’ are two terms that are often used in the betting world. A full time or half time bet consists of taking a guess at what you expect the outcome to be at the end of both time periods.

For example, in a soccer match between two teams, the person making the bet would bet on one of the two teams leading at full time or half time, in the hopes of winning with their prediction. 

Final Words

So, now you know what ‘FT’ means! We hope that this guide has been helpful, and allowed you to understand what is meant when a commentator or referee uses the term ‘Full Time’.

We also hope that this guide has been able to provide you with some context surrounding the term, and how other aspects of the game can impact it.

If you’re still getting your head around soccer jargon, why not give this page a bookmark so that you can come back whenever you need a knowledge refresh? Thank you for reading!

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