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Five substitutes rule to be added in footballing laws, confirms IFAB

Various football associations had allowed a maximum of five substitutes per team, instead of three, during the pandemic in 2020.

Abhishek Sandikar Author

Updated - 12 June 2022 4:49 pm

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is set to introduce the five substitutes rule permanently from the 2022-23 season. The decision will be formally included in the Laws of the game at a meeting in Doha on Monday. Similarly, the IFAB is planning to discuss, and make possible decisions about concussion substitutes and semi-automated offside technology in the meeting. 

Various football associations had allowed a maximum of five substitutes per team, instead of three, during the pandemic in 2020 but were later removed from the rule in the past two seasons. But now it will become permanent although its use in different competitions will remain the decision of the organising body.

“The welfare of players should be the most important…”

Several managers have been requesting the five-sub rule ever since it was revoked over the last two seasons. One of the biggest advocates of this rule was Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who talked about the rule being necessary for the safety of players in a long season. 

He said, “The problem is the fixtures, the calendar, 365 days a year, the international teams with huge competitions and a lot of games… The players have two to three weeks holiday in the summer, then the season (starts) again – it’s too much.”

“Today managers talked with the Premier League and broadcasters and decided what is the best for everyone. The welfare of players should be the most important… This is the only country to not accept five substitutions, just three. Why? We want to protect the players, so bring five substitutions. It’s much better for the amount of games, but the Premier League and clubs decided ‘no’”, he had stated.

“Maybe we need a strike for people to take attention…”

Guardiola then intended for going on a strike if things didn’t pan out in favour of the players for getting the attention of the governing bodies towards the issues. He expressed, “Just words won’t solve anything. (For) UEFA, FIFA, the Premier League, the broadcasters, the business is more important than the welfare. Maybe we need a strike for people to take attention… (but) we want to play, make people happy over December and play games. We love to do that.”

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