IFAB extends option for five substitutes into 2021

Football’s rules governing body took the decision to give competitions scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020 the option to permit five subs back in May as leagues around the world resumed following widespread coronavirus-enforced stoppages.

Its board of directors conducted an in-depth review to determine whether to extend the option following feedback from stakeholders and an assessment of COVID-19’s impact on competition calendars.

The board took the decision to extend it to competitions set to be completed by July 31, 2021 and to international competitions scheduled in July/August 2021.

A FIFA media release said that the reasons for giving competitions the option remain valid and that player welfare will likely continue to be impacted due to the shorter-than-usual recovery and preparation period athletes in competitions that resumed in 2020 may have before the start of the 2020-21 season.

The release also pointed to the condensed fixture schedule that is set to be a feature of most major competitions next term due to delayed starts and major international tournaments preventing a later end to the 2020-21 campaign.

The Premier League, LaLiga, the Bundesliga and Serie A are all set to start in September and end in May, with Ligue 1 – which will commence in August – the lone exception among the top five European leagues.

Euro 2020 – delayed to 2021 because of the pandemic – is scheduled to begin on June 11, as is the 2021 Copa America. Both competitions are set to finish on July 11.

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