Five substitutes to be allowed next season, IFAB announces
IFAB: "The impact on player welfare is likely to continue into 2021"; each competition can decide whether they want to use additional substitutes next season
Last Updated: 15/07/20 5:30pm
Five substitutes will be allowed next season, football lawmakers have announced following a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
However, each competition will be free to decide whether they want to use the additional substitutes next season.
The Premier League, EFL and SPFL are yet to decide whether they will allow five substitutes from next season, while the FA have not confirmed the extension will also apply in FA Cup ties next season.
Premier League clubs are due to meet on July 24 and could discuss the matter then. The EFL is expected to consult clubs at the end of the season and the Scottish Football Association's Annual General Meeting takes place on July 22.
The measure, designed to help manage player workloads in seasons affected by the coronavirus pandemic, initially covered competitions finishing in 2020.
The directors of the IFAB have now extended the amendment to the laws of the game to cover league competitions ending on or before July 31 2021, and to international competitions scheduled for July and August of the same year.
A statement from IFAB said: "Following the decision taken on 8 May 2020 to give competitions scheduled to be completed in 2020 the option of allowing teams to use up to five substitutes, the IFAB Board of Directors had agreed to review whether to extend this option further.
"On the basis of this in-depth review based on stakeholder feedback and analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on competition calendars, the IFAB Board of Directors has approved to extend the option to competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 July 2021 and international competitions scheduled in July/August 2021.
"The main reason for the temporary amendment to Law 3 - The Players was the impact on player welfare of competitions being played in a condensed period and in different weather conditions.
"The recent review has shown that the reasons for the temporary amendment remain valid and the impact on player welfare is likely to continue into 2021."
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Player welfare a key issue for lawmakers
Analysis by Bryan Swanson, Sky Sports News' chief reporter
Coronavirus is seriously disrupting the football calendar this year and lawmakers feel they are doing all they can to support the game.
But, in allowing the use of five substitutes next season too, they risk dividing opinion even more.
FIFA are strong supporters of additional substitutes and IFAB believe "the impact on player welfare is likely to continue" next year.
IFAB's board of directors reached a unanimous decision, as they had to, at a meeting on Wednesday.
A shorter-than-usual recovery period this summer, and more games over a condensed period of time next season, has led to their decision.
But does this law extension favour the so-called bigger clubs?
Additional substitutes can be used next season but they do not have to be used in all competitions.
Last month, UEFA announced there will only be three substitutes in next season's Champions League and Europa League.
Premier League clubs have yet to discuss the issue, and we can expect no shortage of conversations given the reaction of some managers since games restarted in June.
Clubs are scheduled to meet on July 24, for their latest shareholder meeting, but a decision is highly unlikely as it affects next season.
The Championship play-off final on August 4, which determines the Premier League's 20th club next season, will take place before the league's annual general meeting [AGM].
The EFL are expected to consult their clubs after the end of the season, and any changes are usually made at their summer AGM.
The Football Association has yet to decide whether more substitutes will be used in FA Cup ties next season.
There's a more pressing demand in Scotland, as the Scottish Premiership starts on August 1.
The SPFL has yet to say and there's an SFA AGM on July 22, which may bring clarity for Scottish Cup ties too.
Five subs or three? We can expect a robust debate over the summer.