Teams will be able to make up to five substitutions under a Fifa proposal to help players cope with fixture congestion amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The substitutions will be allowed in a maximum of three in-play slots and at half-time to avoid unnecessary stoppages but are being proposed in recognition of the long layoff and anticipated high volume of matches if and when games resume.
The Fifa proposal is subject to the approval of the game’s law-making body, the International Football Association Board, and competitions such as the Premier League could then decide whether to 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. One concern in this regard is that the frequency of matches may increase the risk of potential injuries due to a player overload.
“In light of this and the unique challenge faced globally in delivering competitions according to the originally foreseen calendar, Fifa proposes 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, with the possibility of an additional substitution remaining during extra time where relevant.”
The temporary dispensation would apply to competitions due to be completed or to start in 2020 or 2021. It would also cover national team matches up to and including 31 December 2021.
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