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International Football

Five substitutes rule extended for 2020/21 season

Football is set to continue with five substitutes in a game due to concerns over player fitness during the 2020/21 season after the sport’s lawmakers extended a temporary solution to a congested schedule in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will extend the change from three to five subs for the 2020-21 season following a majority vote amongst national leagues.

Each individual league and international competition will have the option to decide whether to apply the new rule or stick by the pre-pandemic regulations of a maximum of three substitutes per side for a 90-minute match.

The change was made to help clubs protect their players following a break in training during coronavirus lockdowns, and due to the high volume of games being played to complete various competitions.

Despite the concerns over player welfare that has led to the rule changes, the use of five substitutes per side has been controversial.

The biggest clubs with deeper squads benefit most, leading to concerns of further widening the gap between the richest clubs and the rest.

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