IFAB extend five-substitute rule for 2020-21 season

Teams will STILL be allowed to use five substitutes next season as football’s law-makers approve new rules… but Jamie Carragher urges the Premier League to stop the ‘nonsense’ and revert back to three subs

  • The International Football Association Board has extended five-substitute rule 
  • The new law was introduced for remainder of 2019-20 campaign amid Covid-19
  • Alteration was brought in to help players avoid injury with jam-packed schedules
  • Each league has option to choose whether to apply five-substitute rule, IFAB said

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) have confirmed that the rule which allows teams to use five substitutes in a match can be used next season.  

The Premier League will therefore have the option to keep the controversial five-substitute rule for the 2020-21 campaign.  

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has urged the English top flight to restore the maximum of three substitutions as he branded the revamped system ‘nonsense’.  

IFAB confirmed that rule which allows teams to use five substitutes can be used next season

Jamie Carragher has urged the Premier League to restore the maximum of three substitutions

Gary Neville also voiced his concerns over the extension of new law on Twitter on Wednesday

He said on social media: ‘This is nonsense! @premierleague stay with three subs please!!’

Carragher’s Sky Sports colleague Gary Neville also voiced his concerns over the extension of the new law. The former Manchester United defender Tweeted: ‘I don’t like or agree with this at all!’ 

The alteration was brought in for the remainder of the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus.

The number of substitutions in a game was increased from three to five when football returned

The Premier League have adopted the rule since Project Restart last month with the intention to try to limit injuries with players involved in jam-packed schedules in order to complete the campaign.

‘The IFAB Board of Directors has extended the option to competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 July 2021 and to international competitions scheduled in July/August 2021,’ the body said in a statement on Wednesday.

Each league has the option to choose whether to apply the five-substitute rule, the IFAB said.   

Like how it is currently being used, each team will have just three opportunities to introduce players off the bench but half-time is not included as one of those.

Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United voted against the temporary change to substitutes last month

Germany’s Bundesliga and Spain’s LaLiga also deployed the temporary rule following the resumption of football. 

The Premier League could now keep the temporary amendment for the whole of next season despite fears it gives the richest clubs an unfair advantage. 

At a Premier League shareholders’ meeting in June Aston Villa, Sheffield United, Bournemouth and West Ham all voted against the interim measure, arguing that it would give the upper hand to bigger clubs with greater squad depth. 

Blades manager Chris Wilder is one of those who has been critical of the rule, saying bigger clubs are benefiting from the allowance of five substitutes.

‘It favours the powerful clubs. We don’t think that is the right way to go about it,’ he said last month.

There will be no room for a traditional pre-season with the 2020-21 Premier League season set to get underway just seven weeks after the current campaign draws to a close. While clubs competing in European competitions face only a matter of days to turnaround should they reach the latter stages of the tournaments in August.

IFAB, which has lengthened the time frame for the five-substitute rule due to the concerns over player welfare, said it will watch the Covid-19 impact closely to ensure ‘appropriate action is taken in the future in relation to this temporary amendment’.




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