The International Football Advisory Board have recommended that five substitutions be implemented permanently across all level of football.
IFAB’s Football and Technical Advisory Body made the suggestion following requests from confederations, associations leagues and other stakeholders.
While some top leagues in Europe already use five substitutes, IFAB aims to make it a universal football rule. The five substitutions can be made at three intervals, including halftime, to reduce the number of stoppages in the games.
So let’s examine how that would affect the beautiful game as we know it both negatively and positively.
The increment in substitutes will help teams keep their players in better physical condition, reducing the risk of muscular injuries. Top Premier League managers like Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have been very vocal about the importance of the two additional substitutions.
The Premier League is one of the leagues that opted against retaining the five subs rule which has led to a 47% increase in muscular injuries among Premier League players.
More substitutes will also help teams rotate their squads better especially in games where the outcome is already decided. It helps the players to know that the lawmakers have their best interests at heart.
More players get more opportunities in important games because of this, especially academy players at big clubs.
Another good thing is that none of this is mandatory, leagues have the right to opt-in and out of this agreement with IFAB’s new substitution rule.
The major pushback on the five substitutions rule is the disproportionate effect it can have on teams in games. That’s the same reason the Premier League has hesitated in implementing this rule permanently.
Five substitutions is an advantage to teams like Manchester City who have deep benches and would maximize all the substitutions.
The smaller teams don’t have that luxury, especially in tight games when they’re holding on tight to a result. Imagine Burnley defending a 1-nil lead against Manchester City who then bring on Mahrez, Foden, Sterling, DeBruyne and Gabriel Jesus all in the second half.
That’s the unfair disparity the new rules threaten and to cause and remain one of the biggest disadvantages to it.
Another reason is the sentimental factor, football purists don’t like seeing too many changes made to the sport. Too much is changing all at once with all the rule revisions, football doesn’t feel like it used to.