FIFA announced on the 27th of April that it would allow each team make use of a maximum of 5 substitutions within a 90 minutes match and an additional one substitution if a match goes into extra time for knockout competitions. The new rule will take effect as soon as competitions restart following the forced break in football activities around the world since the corona virus pandemic began. The governing body sited safety of players as the key reason behind the proposed change.
Once football returns it is anticipated that fixtures will come thick and fast, the new rule will help prevent player injury due to fixture conjestion. This represents an increase from the normal 3 substitutions afforded each team previously. The governing body also stated that the organisers of different competitions can decide to make use of the proposed rule or not.
The debate that has been going round is on how this rule change affects different teams. Does it make the bigger teams in the league stronger or putting the other way round; does it weaken the smaller teams even more. People have argued that teams with more money and better players on the bench have the advantage as they can now be able to replace a good number of tired players without a drop in quality which is not so for the smaller teams.
The question people are asking is how this affects the integrity of the league like the English Premier League. Will it be right for the league that started with a set of rules to end with a different set of rules. That is upto the league’s governing body to decide but one thing is for sure, this rule is likely to stay even after the pandemic is long gone.