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27th Oct 2021

Five substitute rule in football to be made permanent

Callum Boyle

The temporary rule was first used during project restart in May 2020

Football is likely to see a big change as the temporary rule to use five substitutions in a game is expected to become permanent according to the Times.

The International Football Association board’s (IFAB) technical and football panels heard the proposal which has gained large-scale support to allow the number of substitutes to increase from three to five permanently.

Despite the potential rule change, there will still be allowance to continue to use a total of three subs if they wish – something the Premier League currently do – however they would likely be expected to follow suit as a top-flight league.

The rule first came into place during project restart in May 2020, when clubs were allowed to make up to five subs on a a match day due to the number of games in a short space of time.

Leagues and competitions were given the option to extend the change up until the end of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, however leagues such as the Premier League chose to revert back to the original three-sub rule.

A source, who was present at the meeting, spoke to the Times and said: “There is a lot of support about bringing five substitutes in as a permanent option. The meeting agreed generally that this would be good for the game.”

The proposal will now be discussed during the IFAB’s business meeting in November and will be mentioned during their next annual general meeting which is due to take place in March.

Many European countries such as Italy, Germany, France and Spain are reportedly reluctant to go back to the original rule having become so used to having the option of five subs.

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