FIFA extends five-subs option into 2021

FIFA has given approval for teams to use five substitutions the end of the 2020-21 season.
FIFA has given approval for teams to use five substitutions the end of the 2020-21 season.

Football's ruling body FIFA is extending the five-substitute option until the summer of 2021 in order to help teams cope with condensed fixture lists owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

FIFA said on Wednesday that the rule-making International Football Association Board (IFAB) has made this decision after an extensive review "which included stakeholder feedback and an analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on competition calendars."

Teams can now make five substitutions in competitions until July 31, 2021, and at international events to take place in July/August 2021.

The rule - which remains temporary - was first introduced to help clubs cope with tight schedules and ease the strain on players as many leagues completed or are completing their 2019-20 seasons after lengthy suspensions owing to the pandemic.

"Some competitions which resumed in 2020 may have a shorter-than-usual recovery/preparation period before the start of their next season," FIFA said.

"For many competitions, the 2020/21 season will involve matches being played in a condensed period due to a delayed start and the inability to end later than usual because of major international tournaments."

It is up to national associations to decide whether to implement the rule in their competitions.

Australian Associated Press