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Five-substitute rule to be in place until 2021

FIFA: Five-substitute rule to be in place until 2021

July 15, 2020 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The option has been extended until next season.

The five-substitute rule necessitated by the impact of COVID-19 on football has been extended until August 2021, a statement by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has confirmed. The decision was made on Wednesday following a meeting between top-ranking members of the regulatory body.

Back in May, there was a temporary amendment of the FIFA Law 3 which highlights substitutions in matches. Owning to the alteration of competition schedules as a result of the coronavirus, there was the need to address the welfare of players who were greeted with a condensed fixture list upon returning to action.

With the pandemic still persisting, the IFAB Board of Directors decided that it will be in the best interest of clubs and players for the option to use five substitutes in a football game to be extended. This, according to them, applies to competitions that will end in July/August 2021.

"On the basis of this in-depth review based on stakeholder feedback and analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on competition calendars, the IFAB Board of Directors has approved to extend the option to competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 July 2021 and international competitions scheduled in July/August 2021," the statement read.

"The main reason for the temporary amendment to Law 3 - The Players was the impact on player welfare of competitions being played in a condensed period and in different weather conditions.

"The recent review has shown that the reasons for the temporary amendment remain valid and the impact on player welfare is likely to continue into 2021."

Meanwhile, Europe's top-five leagues who adopted the rule upon their return from the hiatus are yet to confirm whether or not they will implement the new rule. The Premier League, for instance, could bring out their verdict after their latest shareholder meeting scheduled for July 24.

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