FIFA float the idea of more substitutions as a way of dealing with coronavirus crisis

Football’s governing body, FIFA, has confirmed a proposal for teams to make up to five substitutions as a way of helping them cope with any return to action following the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, 27th April 2020, 5:00 pm
Morecambe FC

The substitutions will be allowed during a maximum of three slots, plus the half-time interval, to avoid unnecessary stoppages.

The move had been proposed for two reasons.

Firstly, in recognition of the long lay-off that players have had due to competitions being suspended.

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As an example, Morecambe – along with their EFL and Premier League counterparts – have been out of action since early March.

The second is because of the anticipated high volume of matches when, and if, play resumes.

The proposal is subject to the approval of the game’s law-making body, the International Football Association Board.

Even then, it will still be at the discretion of individual competitions such as the Premier League or the Bundesliga as to whether or not they implement it.

“When competitions resume, such competitions are likely to face a congested match calendar with a higher-than-normal frequency of matches played in consecutive weeks,” a FIFA spokesperson said.

“Safety of the players is one of FIFA’s main priorities then.

“One concern in this regard is that the higher-than-normal frequency of matches may increase the risk of potential injuries due to a resulting player overload.

“In light of this and in light of the unique challenge faced globally in delivering competitions according to the originally foreseen calendar, FIFA proposes that a larger number of substitutions be temporarily allowed at the discretion of the relevant competition organiser.

“In competitions where less than five substitutions are currently allowed, each team would now be given the possibility to use up to five substitutions during the match, with the possibility of an additional substitution remaining during extra-time, where relevant.”

The temporary dispensation on substitutes would apply to competitions which are either due to be completed or start in 2020 or 2021.

Consequently, it would then apply to the 2020-21 campaign.

It will also cover all national team matches up to and including December 31, 2021.