Temporary amendment (COVID-19)

Additional substitutes

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on football, The IFAB approved a temporary amendment to Law 3 – The Players to give competitions involving the first team of clubs in the top division or ‘A’ international teams the option of allowing teams to use up to five substitutes per match. The temporary amendment was introduced to protect players, in particular where competitions are being played in a condensed period and in different weather conditions, as this may have an impact on player welfare (see circular nos 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23).

This optional temporary amendment is available to all top-level competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 December 2022.

The IFAB will carry on monitoring the ongoing impact of the pandemic on football so that appropriate action can continue to be taken, if needed.

Temporary amendment to Law 3 – The Players, detailed wording:

"Competition organisers have the option of applying either or both of the following:

    During the match, each team:

    • may use a maximum of five substitutes
    • has a maximum of three substitution opportunities*
    • may additionally make substitutions at half-time

    Where extra time is played, each team:

    • may use an additional substitute (whether or not the team has used its maximum number of substitutes)
    • has one additional substitution opportunity* (whether or not the team has used its maximum number of substitution opportunities)
    • may additionally make substitutions: 
      • in the period before the start of extra time
      • at half-time in extra time

    If a team has not used its maximum number of substitutes or substitution opportunities, the unused substitutions and opportunities may be used in extra time. 

    *Where both teams make a substitution at the same time, this will count as a used substitution opportunity for each team."

    Amendment period

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