With virtually constant action, I don't see how association football (soccer) fans in live attendance can leave the stands for any reason. I am much more familiar with sports that have a natural breaking point in the action. So this is a question that I would like answered directly by those who have solved this by attending a soccer match, faced the need to ingest or excrete, and you had to solve this in the most practical/pragmatic way that kept you from missing potential scoring action.

So let me provide the counter-point. In basketball and American football, there are quarters and stoppages of the clock: timeouts, special teams' actions for transferring possession, penalties and foul shots, and for main events, television/broadcast timeouts. Baseball has over a dozen breaks in the action per game. Tennis viewers and golf viewers have different expectations. But with auto racing, the events can be missed for periodic absences by the obligatory "what did I miss?" question upon returning.

So American audiences are used to finding the restroom during these events, or finding the concession stands.

My observation is that roaming vendors might be able to (partially) solve the latter of the two problems with soccer. But I don't even see much of that going on at soccer matches. The former could be solved (like in American NASCAR) with a BYOB policy. Or perhaps there are enough screens in the concession and bathroom areas now for fans to follow the action.

  • Clearly Europeans have stronger bladders than Americans.
    – WS2
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 9:45

1 Answer 1


At half-time.

A soccer match is split into two halfs of 45 minutes each, with a 15 minute break inbetween. An especially hungry and thirsty fan can buy food and drink before the match, consume it during the first half, relieve themself in the break, then repeat the procedure for the second half, at least in theory.

In practice there may be queues for facilities, so this fan might opt to leave their seat just before half-time to beat the queues, or risk missing the start of the second half.

You don't mention alcohol explicitly, but this is of course a big factor on input/output of fluids. Even where alcohol is not allowed in the stadium, fans may have been drinking before the match, and 45 minutes may be too long. In this case, the fan would just have to risk missing a couple of minutes of action to take a trip to the toilets.

In older times, fans in England might have gone for the direct method of relieving themselves, as detailed in 1989 by the Taylor report:

The practice of urinating against walls or even on the terraces has become endemic...

But fortunately conditions have improved since then.

If you want to maximise your food and drink intake, and have enough money (or contacts), you could choose to sit in a hospitality box, but risk the possibility of not being seen as a proper fan, and being more interested in prawn sandwiches than the team.

In total, a football match is completed within 2 hours, with a short break in the middle. If the match is a decent one, then the action should be enough to entertain fans for 45 minutes at a stretch.

  • 1
    I would add that beside going to the rest room, fans usually don't eat or drink during a game. At least in argentina, the things that you can buy inside a stadium are way too expensives and are not worth it.
    – gbianchi
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 18:40
  • A friend of mine who has lived in America says football will never become the principal sport over there for one overriding reason. The structure of the game, divided into two 45-minute sessions will not accord with TV advertising requirements. Also, football flows with few stoppages, one of the perceived reasons for its success as the world's number one spectator sport - by a thousand miles. Rugby, and what American Football I've seen, never seems to get going - both of those are full of stoppages.
    – WS2
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 9:40

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