IFAB to make decision over future of five substitutes option in March

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IFAB will make a final decision on substitutes in March (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
IFAB will make a final decision on substitutes in March (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

Football’s lawmakers will decide in March whether to make the option of five substitutes per match permanent.

The dispensation to increase the number of subs from the usual three was first applied by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in May 2020 following a proposal from FIFA designed to protect player welfare amid a condensed schedule created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The duration of the dispensation has been extended multiple times and already runs until the end of next year, but IFAB will decide at its annual general meeting in March whether to give competitions the option of five substitutes on a permanent basis.

IFAB’s annual business meeting (ABM) on Thursday also extended the trial of additional, permanent concussion substitutes by a year through to August 2023.

IFAB said very few concussion incidents have been reported since the beginning of the trial in January this year, despite the participation of more than 100 competitions.

A proposal to extend the half-time break from 15 to 25 minutes from South American confederation CONMEBOL was rejected and will not go forward for full approval at the AGM.

“Several members shared their concerns, particularly regarding the potential negative impact on player welfare and safety resulting from a longer period of inactivity,” an IFAB statement said.

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