The International Football Association Board (The IFAB) has agreed to make a temporary amendment to the Laws of the Game based on a proposal received from FIFA seeking to protect player welfare. The proposal amends current law #3 in the playbook, increasing the number of substitutions allowed from 3 to a maximum of 5, protecting players from exhaustion. The new law brings also a special twist. To avoid disruption to the game, each team will only have three opportunities to make substitutions. These substitutions can also happen at half-time.
The temporary amendment comes into immediate effect. Matches will play in a condensed period in different weather conditions. These both will certainly will have an impact on player welfare and health. Here’s what the amendment to Law # 3 looks like (FIFA.com)
The Actual Law
Law 3 – The Players – Temporary amendment
- Each team will be permitted to use a maximum of five substitutes.
- To reduce disruption to the match, each team will have a maximum of three opportunities to make substitutions during the game; substitutions may also be made at half-time.
- If both teams make a substitution at the same time, this will count as one of the three opportunities for each team.
- Unused substitutions and opportunities are carried forward into extra time.
- Where competition rules allow an additional substitution in extra time, teams will each have one additional substitution opportunity; substitutions may also be made before the start of extra time and at half-time in extra time.
The use of return substitutes is not an option for senior competitions.
Now this rule as you can imagine, has certainly shocked the world of football as some leagues are considering ways to return to play. Alejandro Dominguez, president of South America’s CONMEBOL expresses his thoughts on FIFA’s new rule “We are surprised by this measure, which was not consulted with our confederation. CONMEBOL will convene an expert panel to analyze and present conclusions to our council. This will decide whether to adopt it in South America’s tournaments” Dominguez Tweeted.
Nos toma por sorpresa esta medida, que no fue consultada con nuestra Confederación.@Conmebol convocará a un panel de expertos para que la analice y presente sus conclusiones al Consejo, quien decidirá sobre la conveniencia de adoptarla en los torneos de Sudamérica. https://t.co/6FCVSxfqY3
— Alejandro Domínguez (@agdws) May 8, 2020
Now, being a Football (Soccer) player, yes I call it football like the rest of the world calls it LOL! Personally, I see this new amendment to law #3 of the rule book having revisions done after December 31, 2020. There might even be a possible revision of making four substitutions becoming the new rule. Now, you may ask why I say that.
Personally, I think that due to COVID-19 player fitness and health will become even more important than ever before. Players these days are more likely to fatigue faster. To maintain a high level of performance afloat, it will become primal for trainers and coaches to ensure substitutions are available. Three substitutions this day and age doesn’t cut it enough. Especially IF a player has to leave the field via Red Card!
COVID will certainly put a whole new normal to this world and I believe this is just a small taste of new rules to come and for us to adapt.
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