The International Board approves the five changes temporarily

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The International Board (IFAB), guarantor of football laws, has authorized the passage of three to five changes per game this Friday to avoid injury to the players, after a two-month hiatus, a provisional measure applicable since the resumption of competitions.

This amendment to Gambling Law 3, which comes “immediately into force”, will apply to competitions until the end of 2020provided that the organizers adopt it, they announced jointly FIFA and IFAB. The International Board and FIFA stated that they will determine “later” whether this option can be extended until the end of 2021, and therefore apply during the European Championship or the Copa América, postponed from 2020 to 2021. In addition, a sixth substitution will be possible during the extensions.

This jump to five substitutions should take effect immediately in Germany, where the Bundesliga will resume behind closed doors from Saturday May 16, the German Football League (DFL) said Thursday.

The Delegated Commission of the Spanish Football Federation (FEF) unanimously approved this Friday the adoption of the measure in parties of all national categories in an extraordinary way. It has also been established that the teams may summon 23 players in the First and Second divisions for matches and 20 in the promotion phases of Second Division B, Third Division and women’s competition.

Relief from physical burden

The idea is not entirely new. The use of five substitutions was already in force in some youth competitions, such as in the qualifying matches for Eurocup 2021 U21, postponed to 2022.

This decision will help the teams to «cope with a condensed calendar and different weather conditions, two elements that could have an impact on the health of footballers “, explained FIFA and the International Board.

Substitutions may be made in three interruptions of the meeting, as well as in the break, to avoid “disturbing the course of the match too much”.

After the authorization of a fourth change, but only during the extension, in force since the 2018 World Cup in Russia, this new measure may revolutionize team management, bringing soccer closer to other multiple substitution sports such as rugby.

Can a ‘trial period’ for future definitive adoption therefore be seen in this provisional measure? In constant evolution, the rules of soccer have been modified many times in the last sixty years, but very rarely provisionally.

The first substitution was authorized in 1958, although initially the goalkeeper and a field player could only be changed in case of injury. The first tactical substitution, that is, for the coach’s convenience, was introduced in 1967, without having to do it due to an injury to a player. It was necessary to wait for the World Cup in Mexico in 1970 to have two authorized substitutions, while the third was only allowed after 1992.

These measures seem to have always existed in football, but this is not the case, such as the yellow and red cards, which came only in 1970, or the definition of a match in the penalty shoot-out, introduced in 1974. The ‘goal Gold ‘is one of the rare measures that was used for a limited period, being introduced in 1992 and discontinued in 2004.

In their statement, FIFA and IFAB also released the organizers to use or not to use video arbitration (VAR) in the resumption of competitions.

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