IFAB clears path for five substitutes in Scottish football

The rulemakers have made changes to help teams after the coronavirus pandemic.

IFAB clears path for five substitutes in Scottish football SNS

Scottish teams could use five substitutes per game next season after a temporary rule change was extended until next year.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) altered the rules for competitions restarting after lockdown, increasing the number of substitutes to five from three. That change only applied to competitions being completed from last season.

Now IFAB has said that league and cup competitions next season can implement the rule change, opening the door for the Scottish Professional Football League to use five subs per game when the Premiership starts in August. The rule can also be applied in the Scottish Cup if the SFA decide to adopt it.

The rule was initially altered to allow for the disruption to players’ training schedules as calendars were rearranged, as well as a change in weather conditions with some teams playing in summer to catch up on fixtures.

IFAB said it is extending the change because the 2020/21 season in many countries will be condensed because fo a late start and the need to finish before the European Championships.

SPFL representatives have already spoken about the busy schedule for teams next season and the lack of free dates for rearranged games.

An IFA statement read: “Following the decision taken on 8 May 2020 to give competitions scheduled to be completed in 2020 the option of allowing teams to use up to five substitutes, The IFAB Board of Directors had agreed to review whether to extend this option further.

“On the basis of this in-depth review, which included stakeholder feedback and an analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on competition calendars, The IFAB Board of Directors has extended the option to competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 July 2021 and to international competitions scheduled to take place in July/August 2021.

“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 due to various factors, including:

  • Some competitions which resumed in 2020 may have a shorter-than-usual recovery/preparation period before the start of their next season.
  • For many competitions, the 2020/21 season will involve matches being played in a condensed period due to a delayed start and the inability to end later than usual because of major international tournaments.

“There are no changes to the details of the temporary amendment to the Laws of the Game, which will allow for a maximum of five substitutes to be used per team. However, to avoid disruption to the game, each team will only have three opportunities to make substitutions, although substitutions made at half-time are not counted as one of the three opportunities.

“The decision on whether to apply this temporary amendment remains at the discretion of each competition organiser.

“The changing impact of the pandemic on football will be kept under constant review to ensure appropriate action is taken in the future in relation to this temporary amendment.”  

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