Doha, 13 June 2022 - The use of five substitutes, introduced as a tweak to the rules because of Covid, will be formally written into the Laws of the Game 2022-23, which will come into effect on July 1, 2022.
At its 136th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Qatar, The International Football Association Board (IFAB) ratified the changes and clarifications to the laws.
A maximum of five substitutes per team, instead of three, had been allowed since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. It will not become permanent.
The AGM was chaired by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and attended by representatives from FIFA, The FA, the Irish FA, the Scottish FA, the FA of Wales and The IFAB administration. The members also discussed ongoing trials of concussion substitutes, possible alternatives to offside, and the latest technological developments to support match officials.
Lack of respect for referees and their safety were identified as global problems. The members agreed to establish initiatives to tackle these issues, including potential trials with body cameras worn by referees in adult grassroots football.
In relation to Law 3 – The Players, following a request by FIFA in May 2020 to protect player welfare during the global pandemic, The IFAB introduced a temporary amendment giving top domestic and international competitions the option of allowing teams to use up to five substitutes; this provision was extended several times.
At today’s meeting, The IFAB accepted the recommendations from the ABM, the meeting of the Football and Technical Advisory Panels (FAP-TAP), and the strong support from the entire football community, that this option be permanently introduced into the Laws of the Game 2022/23.
The IFAB said the five changes per team would continue to be allowed to be made in no more than three opportunities, excluding any changes made at half-time.
In addition, the members decided to increase the maximum number of named substitutes listed on the team sheet from 12 to 15 at the discretion of the competition organiser.
Members received an update on the early results of the global trial with additional permanent concussion substitutes. Although over 140 competitions are involved in the trials, the AGM supported the ABM decision to extend the trial until August 2023 to gather sufficient data to form a scientifically valid decision. Temporary concussion substitutes were reconsidered, but the members agreed that the trials should continue to focus on permanently removing any player with actual or possible concussion to ensure this player does not continue taking part in the match in question. It was agreed that further education is needed to ensure the trial protocols are applied correctly.