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Rule change allows five substitutions per team; VAR can be stopped

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Each team are now officially allowed to make five substitutions per the new laws of the game.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) confirmed the new rule, which was first suggested by FIFA to help players and clubs cope with any extra fatigue which will come from the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rule 3 is the ruling which relates to substitutions and the key part of this is that teams are only able to make subs at certain parts of the game so the flow of the game isn’t broken up.

Here’s a look at the temporary changes to Rule 3, which has now come into place:

  • A maximum of five substitutes are allowed per team, per game
  • To avoid disruption, each team will have a maximum of three opportunities to make subs during the game and also at half time
  • If both teams make a sub at the same time, this will count as one of the three opportunities for each team
  • Unused subs and opportunities are carried forward into extra time in cup competitions
  • Where competition rules allows it, teams will be allowed an extra sub in extra time. The sub can be made before extra time starts or at half time of extra time

With training and games interrupted and teams now close to returning across the globe and being asked to play games over a short period of time to complete the 2019-20 season, this rule change is more of a temporary measure.

FIFA have also ruled that VAR can be stopped midseason if leagues no longer have the resources to use it. The Premier League is not expected to stop using VAR midseason.

“In relation to competitions in which the video assistant referee system is implemented, these competitions are permitted to cease its use upon restart at the discretion of each individual competition organizer.”

As for the five sub rule, it is allowed to be used in competitions which were due to finish by December 31, 2020 and it is expected to be extended to cover the 2020-21 seasons too.

In La Liga, matchday squads will also increase from 18 to 23 so that managers have more options to choose from when it comes to substitutes, and there will be two water breaks per match.

Who will benefit from this? Other than the players who will have their workloads lessened, it is clear the big boys with deeper squads will benefit from this rule change.

If you have 25 international players and all of a sudden you get to use 16 of them per game, the overall quality of your play remains high. As for teams lower down in say the Premier League, some squads may be forced to giving plenty of young academy players minutes in the final nine weeks of the 2019-20 season.

I want to believe that teams will be able to use these substitutions correctly but the cynic in me says that this could lead to games being disrupted even more than they already are with players saying they have an injury and subs then being used outside of one of the substitution windows. There seems to be a loophole here.

It is a temporary fix, so that’s fine, but having five subs would not be good for the game, long term.

Five substitutes per game? FIFA suggests special rule change

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FIFA has suggested a special rule change of five substitutions to help teams returning to action after suspensions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[ MORE: ‘Project restart’ for PL ]

World soccer’s governing body has said that it wants teams to be able to make five substitutions per game.

Its reason for increasing the number of subs from five to three is due to players facing more fatigue as they will likely be asked to play a game every few days when the 2019-20 season resumes behind closed doors.

“When competitions resume, such competitions are likely to face a congested match calendar with a higher-than-normal frequency of matches played in consecutive weeks. Safety of the players is one of FIFA’s main priorities. One concern in this regard is that the higher-than-normal frequency of matches may increase the risk of potential injuries due to a resulting player overload.

“In light of this, and in light of the unique challenge faced globally in delivering competitions according to the originally foreseen calendar, FIFA proposes that a larger number of substitutions be temporarily allowed, at the discretion of the relevant competition organiser. In competitions where less than five substitutions are currently allowed, each team would now be given the possibility to use up to five substitutions during the match, with the possibility of an additional substitution remaining during extra time, where relevant.”

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) are expected to look on FIFA’s proposed rule changes favorably and vote them in for the rest of the 2019-20 season and the entire 2020-21 campaign.

How will this work?

Teams will be given certain windows during games to make subs, outside of injuries, so the flow of the match will not be impacted with extra subs being made just to waste time.

This is a really good idea to help teams cope with some players not being physically fit enough to resume the season. The vast majority will be fit enough but others may not have been able to work out that much during the suspension and they could struggle to get back to the pace of regular games.

This rule change would also allow some of the teams lower down the table feel more comfortable with playing up to three games per week as they were concerned that they couldn’t compete with the squad depth of teams at the top of the league.

IFAB: New handball rule can be adopted when games resume

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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) issued a letter from secretary Lukas Brud on Wednesday, outlining several changes to the game.

The “tee shirt line” handball rule may be coming to club football quicker than expected due to the coronavirus suspension of the 2019/20 season.

IFAB will allow leagues the choice to use the new handball rule when matches resume this season, also making changes to VAR protocol and vowing to review the offside rule.

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The new handball rule states that the shoulder goes to the end of the shirt sleeve or the bottom of the armpit (though obviously not in the case of a long-sleeve jersey).

For the purposes of determining handball offences, the ‘arm’ stops at the bottom of the armpit

So… get ready for baggy, longer jersey sleeves, or the increased recruitment of players with the longest armpits.

Kidding aside, the handball rule desperately needed clarification and we’ll see if this gives enough to fans and players alike.

Referees will now be “expected” to go to the screen on the field when a call is subjective, forcing the official to either uphold or overrule his initial call.

This same post says IFAB will now allow accidental handballs in the run-up to a goal in certain situations.

“Accidental handball by an attacking player should only be penalized if it ‘immediately’ results in a goal or an obvious opportunity for the player and/or their team to score a goal (i.e. following the handball, the ball travels only a short distance and/or there are very few passes).”

Well, that needs some clarification.

Back to the timing issue for the new handball rule, it seems logical that leagues would want to introduce new laws with a new season but stand-by for the decision of your favorite league.

As for the offside rule, “The members agreed that the fundamental philosophy of offside is underpinned by a desire to encourage attacking football and the scoring of goals. It was further agreed, therefore, that Law 11 – Offside should be analyzed and reviewed with a view to potentially proposing changes reflecting this philosophy.”

It’s a lot to unpack, and we’ll surely here from proponents and opponents of the changes soon. As always, implementation will make the biggest difference in how these changes are received.

Trials of concussion substitutes could be coming to soccer

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LONDON (AP) Concussion substitutions could be trialed in English soccer next season after proposals were presented to the game’s lawmakers.

The Premier League has given an initial suggestion to the rule-making International Football Association Board proposing that the current three-minute period to assess players for concussion would be used to determine if a “head injury replacement” is required.

A framework from the league’s medical advisor seen by The Associated Press said that if there are no immediate signs of concussion then the player would continue to be observed while back in action. If clearer concussion symptoms become evident, then the player can be replaced by a special substitution beyond the three changes currently allowed.

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The English Football Association prefers allowing players to be replaced at least temporarily for 10 minutes to allow a fuller concussion assessment, a person with knowledge of their thinking told the AP. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the FA’s thinking ahead of the annual meeting of IFAB on Feb. 29 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The FA along with the other British federations hold half of the eight seats on the IFAB board, with international governing body FIFA controlling the other four votes to change laws.

The international players’ union shares the view of the English FA that temporary substitutes should be considered.

“We welcome discussions by football stakeholders with a view to safeguarding players who suffer a concussion,” FIFPRO general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said. “FIFPRO strongly believes doctors must be given enough time and space to assess a player with a suspected concussion in order to enable them to make the correct decision on whether he or she can stay on the pitch. In our view, this means they must be provided with significantly more than three minutes.”

The English FA has also been exploring advice that youngsters should restrict heading the ball in training sessions.

A Scottish study published last year put a fresh focus on the need for footballing authorities to address the potential long-term impact on health of head injuries.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow found former professional players in Scotland were less likely to die of common causes such as heart disease and cancer compared with the general population but more likely to die from dementia. Researchers compared the causes of death of 7,676 Scottish men who played soccer with 23,000 similar men from the general population born between 1900 and 1976. Over a median of 18 years of study, 1,180 players and 3,807 of the others died. The players had a lower risk of death from any cause until age 70.

However, they had a 3.5 times higher rate of death from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. In absolute terms, that risk remained relatively small – 1.7% among former players and 0.5% for the comparison group.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

IFAB approves FIFA request to change VAR rule for Women’s World Cup

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A FIFA request to change the awarding of yellow cards for goalkeeper transgressions on penalty kicks has been approved midway through the Women’s World Cup.

The International Football Association Board granted the request after much consternation over the use of Video Assistant Referee to punish goalkeepers for leaving their lines on penalty kicks at the tournament.

The IFAB says the reasoning is simple and starts with VAR’s presence providing the possibility of a retake is more of a deterrent than a yellow card.

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It also notes that VAR makes it likely that yellow card offenses would happen during penalties, and that the rulebook would doom an outfield player to the goalkeeper’s crease since no substitutions are allowed during kicks.

In all of those instances, VAR is slanting the playing field to the kicker.

The announcement comes days after PGMOL said the Premier League would not include goalkeeper positioning amongst its reasons for VAR.

If you’re wondering how many instances other than a player biting another have led to such quick and decisive action from around football, your answer is, “Yes, this has been a nightmare.”