FIFA and IFAB approve five changes per game

IFAB and FIFA approve five changes & opens the door to dispense with VAR!

IFAB and FIFA approve five changes & opens the door to dispense with VAR!

The Football competitions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are resumed around the world, the International Football Association Board (IFAB ) has decided to temporarily change the Laws of the Game based on a proposal sent by FIFA which is intended to preserve the health of the players. IFAB has approved FIFA’s proposal to introduce a provisional amendment to ‘Rule 3 Players’ to allow a maximum of five changes per team. In those competitions that have already started or are intended to, and which was expected to conclude on December 31, 2020.

In order to avoid interruptions, each team will have three opportunities to make the five substitutions that can also be carried out during the break. This transitory modification comes with immediate effect since a good number of matches are going to be played in a short period; and with different weather conditions than expected which could have a negative impact on the health of soccer players.

Regarding competitions that have video assistant referees ( VAR ); they may dispense with their services once the competition has restarted, provided that the organizer of the competition so decides. However, in the competitions that decide to continue with the VAR, the Laws of the Game will remain in force in their entirety and, by extension, the VAR protocol.

The organizers of the competitions will have the power to decide whether or not to apply this transitory modification. The IFAB and FIFA will decide later on whether to extend the period of application of said modification in competitions ending in 2021.

FIFA Rule 3. The players (number of substitutions)

Current formulation:2. Number of substitutions

Official competitions

In official competition matches organized by FIFA confederations or national football federations; a maximum of five substitutes may be used; except in the case of male and female competitions in which the first team of the clubs of the maximum category of the absolute national teams; in that case the maximum will be three substitutes.

Transitional modification:

The organizers of the competitions will have the option to apply any of the following two options:

During the match, both teams may

  1. use a maximum of five alternates
  2. have a maximum of three opportunities to proceed with a substitution
  3. may make substitutions during the break

In the case of an extension, both teams

  1. may make an additional substitution, whether or not they have reached the maximum number of substitutes allowed.
  2. have one more opportunity to replace, whether or not they have reached the maximum number of such opportunities.
  3. may make substitutions: before the start of the extension or during the break of the extension.

If the teams have not used the maximum number of substitutes; or have not exhausted the maximum number of substitution opportunities; during the extra time, they may have the substitutes or the remaining opportunities. In the event that both teams make a substitution at the same time, a substitution opportunity will be subtracted from each of them..

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