Several games a week, where possible even in high summer! Due to the expected heavy burden for footballers in the corona crisis, a decades-long basic rule of the game has been temporarily overturned. As the regulators of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and the FIFA World Cup announced on Friday, five instead of three substitutions per game will be allowed in the future. The new regulation could also soon be applied in the Bundesliga and the second division, which will start playing on May 16.
“This immediate, temporary change was introduced because of a tight calendar and games that can be extremely hot, which could affect both players’ wellbeing,” said FIFA, who submitted the proposal to IFAB. The rule-keepers had previously given the green light.
The new switch contingent can now be used in all competitions that will be completed by December 31, 2020. The German Football League (DFL) had already considered the rule change: “If this rule is decided by FIFA, the clubs of the Bundesliga and the second Bundesliga will decide on a short-term adoption of this rule,” said DFL managing director Christian Seifert on Thursday.
Eintracht Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter sees the additional switch options as “more positive signals than more negative ones. On the one hand, you have more tactical options, but you can also make more players happy if you switch them in.” His trainer colleague Julian Nagelsmann from RB Leipzig is also looking forward to more change opportunities: “In principle, I think something of it, because you can influence more and control the load better.”
However, as the FIFA clarified, the rule change is not a binding requirement. It is up to the leagues and associations to decide whether to implement them or not. It will only be decided at a later date whether the reform will be extended to the coming year 2021. With regard to the flow of the game, the opportunities for five substitutions are limited in time. Each team has a maximum of three opportunities for substitution during regular playing time, so excessive time play should be avoided. You can still switch during the half time. If both teams make a substitution at the same time, they both lose a change window.