The International Football Association Board has ratified the changes and clarifications to the laws of the game 2022/23 that will be enforced from July 1. The decision was taken at its 136th Annual General Meeting held in Doha, Qatar. Meanwhile, the current restriction of three substitution slots plus half-time was also confirmed in the meeting.
The decision was confirmed largely due to the concerns over fitness and injury risk to the players with matches being played in such a short span of time post the COVID-19 stoppage.
Chaired by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, the AGM, which was also attended by representatives from FIFA, the FA, the Irish FA, the Scottish FA, the FA of Wales and the IFAB administration also discussed on various other ongoing trials such as concussion substitute, alternatives to offside and latest developments to support match officials.
Meanwhile, the safety and lack of respect for referees were also identified as global problems. The AGM agreed to establish initiatives to tackle these issues, including the idea of the referees wearing body cameras.
The option of using five substitutes was adopted in May 2020 to alleviate the strain on players as the COVID-19 pandemic upended sporting calendars and congested fixture lists raising fear of players’ welfare.
Earlier, only three substitutes were allowed, but managers’ complaints about the strain on players’ welfare as competing in condensed competition formats justified the change.
Last year, the IFAB board of directors extended the temporary change to football’s laws allowing all football competitions to use five substitutes till December 31, 2022, with respect to the 2022 FIFA World Cup played in Qatar that is set to be played in November-December this year.
The idea was, however, rejected by the Premier League as the tournament opted to revert back to the three substitute format after critics argued that the five-substitute rule would disproportionately benefit wealthier clubs with larger squads.