FIFA makes five substitutes an option through 2022 World Cup

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ZURICH — A pandemic-era rule giving competition organizers the option to let teams use five substitutes in a match was extended Friday through 2022.

FIFA can now apply the policy at next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

“The decision follows a global analysis of the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on football,” the International Football Association Board said in a statement.

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The interim rule was introduced last May to help players avoid injury and ease their workload. They resumed playing in a congested schedule after a near-total shutdown of the sport because of the pandemic.

The latest extension covers competitions “scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31, 2022” – including the World Cup but not domestic competitions that start in 2022 and run into 2023.

Teams can use five substitutes instead of three in the regulation 90 minutes and a sixth in extra time of knockout games.