FIFA has announced a temporary change in football regulations that will allow teams make up to five substitutions per match instead of the usual three when play resumes after the coronavirus pandemic.
The move by FIFA and football rule-making body the International Football Association Board (IFAB) is a temporary measure “to protect player welfare” a statement said.
Football has been suspended since mid-March but many leagues and federations are still hoping to complete the season.
Resuming the season would mean cramming fixtures into a shorter period than usual.
Giving teams the option of making five substitutions will help cope with potential fixture congestion.
The change in the rules will be allowed in all competitions which are due to finish by the end of this year and it will be up to individual competition organisers whether to implement it.
FIFA added that “to avoid disruption to the game, each team will only have three opportunities to make substitutions” plus the halftime interval.
FIFA also said that competitions currently using the video replay system (VAR) would be free to discontinue its use on restarting.
“The temporary amendment comes into force with immediate effect, and has been made as matches may be played in a condensed period in different weather conditions, both of which could have impacts on player welfare,” FIFA said.
“The IFAB and FIFA will determine at a later stage whether this temporary amendment would need to be extended further (e.g. for competitions due to be completed in 2021).”
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.