Five substitutions option set to be made permanent next month

Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion – Premier League – Anfield
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

The option to make five substitutions in a match is set to be made permanent by the game’s lawmakers next month.

The International Football Association Board’s annual general meeting will take place virtually on March 3. It is expected that the temporary dispensation to Law 3 to allow up to five changes in a game – introduced to help clubs manage congestion related to the Covid-19 pandemic – will be made a permanent option for competitions worldwide.

The wording of the offside law will also be discussed at the meeting, though it is understood it is very unlikely any changes to it will be ratified.

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It follows a call from UEFA’s referees’ chief Roberto Rosetti in October to review its wording after a controversial goal by France’s Kylian Mbappe in the Nations League final against Spain, when a defender’s touch played him onside.

The meeting will discuss changes to wording and any consequences arising from a change, but it is not expected that this meeting will vote to alter it.

The meeting attendees will also be updated on trials of an alternative wording of the offside law championed by FIFA’s chief of global football development, Arsene Wenger. The former Arsenal manager had proposed that an attacker be ruled onside if any part of his body was level with the second-last defender.

A trial scheduled to take place in China had to be scrapped due to Covid-19.

There will also be an update on the use of semi-automated offside technology at the Arab Cup which took place in November and December last year.

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It will not be down to the IFAB to decide whether to use the technology at the World Cup in Qatar later this year, because it is considered to be part of the existing VAR protocols.

FIFA, as competition organisers, will make the decision on whether it is used at the World Cup.

The annual business meeting of the IFAB decided last November to extend trials of additional permanent concussion substitutes through to August 2023, and this will be noted at the AGM.

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