FIFA proposes 5 substitutes when play resumes

World football governing body FIFA has reportedly proposed teams be allowed to make five substitutions in one match in order to cope with the fixture congestion once sporting action resumes.

According to a FIFA Spokesman who spoke to English news outlet BBC Sport, the safety of players remained the body’s main priority, with the acknowledgment of high demand over a short period of time from players once league action resumes. “Safety of the players is one of FIFA’s main priorities. One concern in this regard is that the higher-than-normal frequency of matches may increase the risk of potential injuries due to a resulting player overload,” the spokesman told BBC Sport. The spokesman added human life was more important than sport, and the body would only resolve to resume football action once health authorities give the green light.

“Football should only resume when the health authorities and governments say it is absolutely safe and non-disruptive of health services being delivered to the populations…” These proposals, however, are subject to consent from the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body responsible for making football rules. How will it work:

“In light of the unique challenge faced globally in delivering competitions according to the originally foreseen calendar, FIFA proposes that a larger number of substitutions be temporarily allowed, at the discretion of the relevant competition organizer,” the spokesman proposed.

“In competitions where less than five substitutions are currently allowed, each team would now be given the possibility to use up to five substitutions during the match, with the possibility of an additional substitution remaining during extra time, where relevant,” he added.

The coronavirus has seen football associations worldwide pause their leagues, in a steady process that started with clubs allowing fixtures to go on behind closed doors. However, footballers too were vulnerable to the virus. The world’s top leagues, followed by lower divisions ordered the postponement of matches, consequently postponement of the leagues themselves. Football stopped, and for the first time in a long time, people were asked to stay in their homes as medical fraternities worked day and night to try contain the virus. Everyone’s attention turned to helping combat and prevent the spread of Covid-19.

FIFA, on Monday, March 16 rang its support to the World Health Organisation (WHO) by introducing a responsiveness campaign that would help tackle the virus. “We all know the situation with the coronavirus is a serious one, and we need to put health first. These are the five key tactics to tackle the coronavirus, and I urge you to follow with discipline at all times, these five key tactics,” said FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger, who will have the assistance of five other trainers united behind the five-step game plan to defeat the virus.

“Safety of the players is one of Fifa’s main priority then. One concern in this regard is that the higher-than-normal frequency of matches may increase the risk of potential injuries due to a resulting player overload.

The temporary dispensation on substitutes would apply to competitions which are either due to be completed or start in 2020 or 2021,  so it would also apply to the 2020-21 season.

Teams would be able to make five substitutions per match if the new rule is passed.It will also cover all national team matches up to and including December 31, 2021.A number of European leagues are working towards a resumption after the Covid-19 outbreak led to a near-total shutdown of sport on the continent.

Clubs in the top two tiers of professional football in Germany have got players back in training with a view to play starting next month. Italian teams will be able to resume group training on May 18, while in France the Ligue de Football Professionnel is targeting a return’ to action in mid-June. The Premier League and the English Football League are keeping a return date under constant review. Premier League clubs will discuss the matter again at a shareholders’ meeting on Friday.

source|BBC Sport

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