Report: IFAB considering doing away with stoppage time substitutions

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A major change could be coming to substitutions in the near future, as the International Football Association Board looks to curtail time wasting.

A report from the Times of London states that the IFAB is considering ruling out substitutions in stoppage time. The IFAB believed that a majority of substitutions taking place in second-half stoppage time are not injury related, and are solely made as a time-wasting tactic. The report states that last season, nearly a quarter of all substitutions made came during second half stoppage time, a 14 percent increase since 2011-2012.

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Its unclear when the IFAB could come to a decision or whether it would really make an impact on decreasing time wasting. Another potential change is to have players leave the field at the closest touchline, avoiding the long walk to the fourth official that can waste valuable seconds.

While it would be likely welcomed in England, the rule change would likely be derided in some Latin American circles, where the win-at-all-costs mantra has led to all sorts of time wasting late in matches from the team in the lead or trying to hold onto a draw. Even without substations after the 90 minutes is up, players can still stall during injuries or during goal kicks. In addition, what if there is a real injury with a player needing to be carted off the field, for example? Would their team not be able to make a change?

Its a decent idea, and time wasting is a long-running problem, but it’s probably important that this idea is worked out more by the IFAB.