Five substitutions set to become permanent after Ifab recommendation

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Five substitutions set to become permanent after Ifab recommendation - GETTY IMAGES
Five substitutions set to become permanent after Ifab recommendation - GETTY IMAGES

Football's temporary five-substitute allowance since Covid-19 is expected to become permanent after lawmakers extended the increased allowance on Wednesday.

The Premier League reverted to three substitutes after fixture pressure eased, but the issue is likely to be raised again by clubs after other governing bodies had their say.

Pep Guardiola has recently said it is “ridiculous” that England is the only country that still allows just three substitutes per side. On Wednesday, the International FA Board’s football and technical advisory panels (FAP-TAP) confirmed it had discussed the prospect of the rule becoming permanent. For now, it has been extended until December next year, although it is likely to become permanent by March at Ifab's annual general meeting in March.

Other points discussed at the meeting were the use of a so-called "Var Light" system for leagues with smaller budgets than the elite. The group were told that "innovations that could allow competitions with limited budgets to access and use Var technology (Var Light) were close.

Also, due to a lack of head trauma incidents since the concussion substitutions trial began in January, the panels have recommended that the pilot is extended beyond the initial end date of August 2022 in order to gather more data.

The substitute allowance was the main subject discussed. Ultimately, the leagues decide whether to take up the increased allowance. Unlike England's top tier, most European rivals and the Champions League all currently allow for five substitutes.

A statement from Ifab read: "In May 2021, due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global football, The IFAB Board of Directors approved a further extension to the temporary amendment (introduced in May 2020) giving all top domestic and international competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 December 2022 the option of allowing teams to use up to five substitutes.

"Following a number of requests from confederations, associations, leagues and other key stakeholders for this option to be introduced permanently in the Laws of the Game (2022/23 edition), FAP-TAP today recommended that competitions should be able to decide on increasing the number of substitutes according to the needs of their football environment, while the current number of substitution opportunities (three plus half-time) should stay the same."

A South American request to increase the half-time interval from 15 to 25 minutes was rejected.

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