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Football teams to make five substitutions when play resumes

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has announced that Football teams will be permitted to substitute five players per march when play resumes.

In a statement, the board said that it had agreed to a proposal by the world governing body FIFA for a temporary change to the rules “to protect player welfare”.

Teams face likely fixture congestion in a packed calendar as they attempt to make up for a lost time when play can resume. The layoff is expected to have an impact on player fitness levels too.

Also, ‘’the competitions which were using video assistant referee (VAR) would be allowed to drop it for the time being. The statement said.

The change will apply to competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 December of this year, although FIFA and IFAB left open the possibility that the period could be extended.

While teams will be able to make five substitutions, “to avoid disruption to the game, each team will only have three opportunities to make substitutions” as well as at half time or before extra time.

In competitions that allow a replacement in extra time, teams will have an additional substitution opportunity.

The previous limit on outfield substitutes for top-level competitions has been three in regulation time.

Furthermore, IFAB said the change had been made “as matches may be played in a shortened period in different weather conditions, both of which could have impacts on player welfare.”

“The decision on whether to apply this temporary amendment will remain at the discretion of each competition organizer,” IFAB added.

It said that, together with FIFA, it “will determine at a later stage whether this temporary amendment would need to be extended further.

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That means the measure could be maintained for the whole of the 2020-21 season and right through to the next European Championship, which was postponed by a year until June and July 2021 because of the pandemic.

It remains to be seen if the measure could be left in place permanently, but doing so may play into the hands of the wealthiest clubs with the largest squads and greatest strength in depth.

The announcement comes a day after the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said it had proposed allowing teams in Spain to make five substitutions if matches resumed in the country.

The statement also said that La Liga chief Javier Tebas had shown support for the move, which takes a similar format to IFAB’s.

“With this proposal, the federation wants to go ahead and propose measures that favour the health of footballers,” said RFEF president Luis Rubiales.

Source: AFP

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