FIFA ‘will permit five substitutions’ when football returns after Covid-19


FIFA ‘will permit five substitutions’ when football returns after Covid-19 crisis to combat summer heat and intense fixture schedules, says referees chief Nicola Rizzoli

  • Italian refereeing chief Rizzoli revealed FIFA plans for when football resumes
  • He said five substitutions would be permitted instead of the usual three
  • Many leagues will have to play through hotter summer months after restart
  • Rizzoli also said players will be to behave differently amid social distancing 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Referees chief Nicola Rizzoli has revealed FIFA intends to allow teams to make five substitutions with football set to be played in higher summer temperatures amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Leagues across the world are looking for ways to resume after delays of two months or more during the virus crisis, meaning they will have to play through June and July.

And with fixture lists more congested as leagues attempt to finish their seasons, placing additional strain on the players, FIFA is apparently willing to make accommodations.

Referees chief Nicola Rizzoli has said FIFA will permit five substitutions once football returns

Referees chief Nicola Rizzoli has said FIFA will permit five substitutions once football returns

Italian official Rizzoli, seen here sending off Manchester United's Rafael Da Silva in their Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich in 2010, revealed the rule change

Italian official Rizzoli, seen here sending off Manchester United’s Rafael Da Silva in their Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich in 2010, revealed the rule change

Rizzoli, the Italian official who took charge of the 2014 World Cup final and is now a referee designator for Serie A, said one change could be five subs instead of the usual three.

He told Sky Sport Italia: ‘I believe FIFA intend to allow five substitutions. In a phase of the season with many games one after the other and in elevated temperatures, we’ll have to all take a step forward to help everyone.’

Strict medical and hygiene procedures will have to be put in place for leagues to resume, with matches played behind closed doors and social distancing measures in place.

Teams are usually permitted three substitutions in a match but this could rise to five

Teams are usually permitted three substitutions in a match but this could rise to five

The change takes account of hotter temperatures during the summer months

The change takes account of hotter temperatures during the summer months 

Rizzoli said: ‘We need to behave differently, including when it comes to social distancing, to avoid risks.

‘We also require a cultural step forward that I hope can be positive for everyone. We are working with UEFA and other major leagues to set out the code of behaviour.

‘We’re also working to reduce risks to a minimum, as usually there are four people in the VAR booth, but it would be reduced to three, all of them wearing masks and protective gloves.’

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