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Study Reveals Which European League Features The Most Actual Playing Time

With findings from MARCA, we now know the latest effective minutes per game from Europe’s big five leagues for the 2018-19 season. Effective minutes denotes the time in which the ball is actually in play, and the numbers from the Spanish daily seem to confirm the idea that the average continues to drop in recent times (a worrying trend that's led FIFA to exploring options like 60-minute games with effective time, or changing the last 10 minutes of the game to effective time to eliminate the plethora of time wasting during that stage of the match).

For example, at the 2014 World Cup, matches involving Colombia produced the least amount of effective time, coming in at 60:30 of the 90 minutes. Matches involving the USMNT, on the other hand, averaged a tournament-best 69:31 of play.

According to MARCA, LaLiga is currently the worst with 53.5 effective minutes per game. That’s slightly bettered by Ligue 1 (53.8), followed by the Premier League (54.6), Serie A (55.6) and the king of actual playing time, the Bundesliga (55.7). You could say that LaLiga is hampered by VAR, but that doesn’t add up since the Bundesliga leads the way and since the Premier League (no VAR) trails behind both Germany and Spain.

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From there, the study can reveal that Manchester City averages the most effective minutes of possession per game with 39.17. Other teams near the top include Barcelona (37.02) and Real Madrid (35.19). 

If you’re wondering why Real Betis has suddenly become the hipster’s delight, this study reveals that the Seville side has a better average (34.9) than all of PSG (34.52), Borussia Dortmund (32.47) and Napoli (32.20).

Finally, the match that had the most effective minutes of football played so far this season was Newcastle’s 2-1 away win over Burnely. It just goes to show that when you bring together the likes of Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie, Chris Wood and Ben Mee, there’s no shithousery.

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