Football

FIFA approves five substitutions and squads of 23

Each domestic league will have the freedom to apply the rules or not as they see fit as they adapt to playing football in a coronavirus-affected world.

FIFA approves five substitutions and squads of 23

The International Football Association Board, the body that determines the laws of football, has approved changes to the substitutions rule to take account of the impact of coronavirus on the sport.

In the phone meeting the IFAB, made up of FIFA and representatives of the four British football associations, made the following change to the laws of game:

Teams will now be allowed to make a maximum of five substitutions per team. However to avoid disruption to the game, each team will only be allowed to make substitutions on three occasions (substitutions can be made at half-time).

A proposal to allow a sixth substitution in games that go to extra-time has not yet been approved.

The rule change applies immediately and to all competitions that have either started or are intended to start and but are scheduled to be completed by the end of December 2020.

The reason for the change was given as: "as matches may be played in a condensed period in different weather conditions, both of which could have impacts on player welfare."

Each competition organiser will have discretion as to whether or not to apply the rule.

Temporary amendment to Law 3

Law 3 – The Players – Temporary amendment

In summary:

Each team will be permitted to use a maximum of five substitutes.

To reduce disruption to the match, each team will have a maximum of three opportunities to make substitutions during the game; substitutions may also be made at half-time.

If both teams make a substitution at the same time, this will count as one of the three opportunities for each team.

Unused substitutions and opportunities are carried forward into extra time.

Where competition rules allow an additional substitution in extra time, teams will each have one additional substitution opportunity; substitutions may also be made before the start of extra time and at half-time in extra time.

The use of return substitutes is not an option for senior competitions.

Bigger squads in Spain

In line with FIFA instructions, the Spanish Federation have also approved other measures to be applied as football restarts after the shutdown for Covid-19. These include allowing squads of up to 23 players, two more than currently permitted.

There will also be two water-breaks, with no need for high temperatures for these to apply. If there is extra-time there could be up to five water-breaks.

When LaLiga does restart, the minimum time between games for any team will be 72 hours, as the organisers try to have the remainder of the season played out.