Five-substitute rule set to become permanent in Football: IFAB

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) said in an official statement that the option will be made permanent from the next season

Earlier in May this year, IFAB gave an extension on the option to teams to extend the number of substitutes to five. (Representative Image)

Soccer's law-making body on Wednesday recommended that competition organisers should have the option of allowing teams to continue using up to five substitutes per game.

The International Football Association Board's (IFAB) Football and Technical Advisory Panels (FAP-TAP) said the decision on implementing the rule would rest with competition organisers.

The temporary rule was first introduced in May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to allow teams to use five substitutes, instead of the standard three, to support player welfare amid a congested fixture schedule.


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The panels backed a proposal to amend the Laws of the Game to make the option permanent following a "number of requests" from confederations, associations, leagues and other stakeholders.

In May, IFAB gave competition organisers the option of allowing teams to continue using up to five substitutes per game until the end of 2022.

Top European leagues and UEFA's major competitions adopted the rule after the 2019-20 season was extended into July and August, respectively, due to the pandemic.

However, the Premier League was the only top league in Europe to revert to a maximum of three substitutes in a condensed 2020-21 season, even as managers such as Juergen Klopp and Pep Guardiola voiced concerns about player fatigue.

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