We’ve all been there. You’re sat watching a game of soccer, and suddenly someone says something or something pops up on the TV that you don’t understand. For many people that happens when they see the letters “FT” come up at the end of a soccer game. Here’s what it means.
What does FT mean in soccer? In soccer, the letters FT mean “Full Time”. Full time is the end of the game when the time allocated to play the game has elapsed. At this point, the referee will blow their whistle to signify that the game is over.
This term “FT” you will have most likely seen alongside a visual presenting the results of a soccer game. Soccer can be full of abbreviations which can be very confusing. Keep reading through this post and you’ll soon know all you need to know about this one!
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Full time means the game is over
While there is no official description or definition of terminology in soccer, “full-time” is used to refer to the end of the game when the players are restricted from making any further contribution to the game. This can be after 90 minutes or after extra-time and penalties if that happens during the game.
The term “Full time” was probably first used in relation to the term “half-time”
Half-time in a soccer game is the interval of 15 minutes that takes place after 45 of soccer has been played. As is probably fairly obvious from the name, half-time takes place halfway through the game! Find out more about half-time in this article I recently wrote.
The assumption then is that when the two halves are together and something is complete then it is full. So a completed game is referred to as full, or you have reached full time.
The referee of the game is in charge of deciding when time is completed for the game and they will be the one who signals that the game is over. At that point, the current scoreline in the game will be declared to be the result of the game. This is full-time.
How long it takes to get to full time can vary
In the majority of matches, or games, that you will see or play in, after 90 minutes of play the referee will signal the game is over and that will be full time.
However, sometimes after the 90 minutes of the game has been played the scores are tied. In a game, as part of a league competition, this doesn’t matter and the teams will move on to their next game. But in a tournament setting such as the World Cup or the MLS playoffs, there needs to be a winner.
If this happens, regulation time will be over but it will not be full time.
This is because the playing time will be extended to create more time for one of the teams to score more goals and win the game. This is called extra-time. Extra time consists of two 15 minute periods of play with a one minute break between them.
If at the end of extra-time the scores are still tied then it will still not be full time as we need a winner of the game.
At this point, the players will move on to a penalty shoot-out.
5 players from each team will take a turn to have a free shot at the goal. The only obstacle in the way of them scoring is the opposition goalkeeper.
If after this the scores are still level then consecutive players from each team will take a penalty kick. Each team will alternate taking the penalty kicks until one team takes the lead.
At this point, a winner is declared and it is full time!
There are times when people can mean different things
So, having said what we’ve already said, there can be times where people can mean subtly different things when they refer to “full time”. This doesn’t happen too often and you shouldn’t get too worried about it, but it’s probably worth knowing.
There will be times when you may hear someone will say something like “At full time the scores were level so the teams had to carry on and play extra time”.
What they are meaning is that after the allotted 90 minutes of time given to play the game there was no winner as both teams had the same score. If this is a game in a soccer tournament it means extra time will be added to the game to allow the team to play for longer in the attempt to establish a winner.
They will probably be saying this because in most people’s minds “full time” is equivalent to 90 minutes of soccer has been played. And this is true in the majority of games. It only changes when more time needs to be added at the end of a game.
What they probably should have said, and what they would have meant, would be something like, “At the end of normal, or regulation, time the scores were level, so the teams had to carry on and play extra time”.
So next time you see a soccer score with the abbreviation “FT” next to it you’ll not only be able to tell those around you that it stands for “Full time”, but you’ll also be able to confidently explain to them what it means and how and when it’s used.
For more information about soccer terminology check out one of these related articles:
*Check out the next post – Can a Soccer Goalie Pick Up the Ball from a Throw-in?*