The temporary amendment for five substitutes as a temporary measure instead of the regular three should be welcomed by all.
In fact, Barbados Football Association’s Referee’s Manager Mark “Bob” Forde said he believed the move would become a permanent fixture of the game going forward.
“The change should not seriously affect the game going forward. Youth football plays with five substitutes, and in knock-out matches, you’re allowed an extra sub if the game goes into extra time,” he said.
Last week, the world’s football governing body FIFA announced the change agreed upon with the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to make a temporary amendment to the Laws of the Game based on a proposal by FIFA, seeking to protect the players’ welfare.
As such, for competitions started or scheduled to start and end by December 31, the IFAB approved the temporary measure to Law 3, which would allow for a maximum of five substitutes per team.
To avoid disruption to the game, substitutions will remain in its current format; three subs which could also be made at half time.
However, Forde said the only problem he foresaw was how teams would utilize the conditions to make the five substitutes.
“They still only have three stops in the game to make the five substitutes, bearing in mind that you can make the subs at half time. If you make one sub at half time, that leaves you with four. You still have to make those four subs within three stoppages.
“The coaches will then have to use their creativity to see when it is right to utilize the substitutions. But it will not have an impact on the game in terms of stoppages, because the FIFA conditions stipulate the game can only have three stoppages to make subs, which is the usual thing,” he said.
Forde, a referee with almost four decades of experience under his boots, said he believed people would enjoy this change because of the Covid-19 pandemic more football would be jammed into a shorter space of time.
Using Weymouth Wales as an example he noted they had a slew of 14 players who generally played all the time, with the same substitutions being made. He said this measure would therefore stretch the players and give them enough time to recover.
“If we start back the season, and decide to finish in two months, that will mean they (footballers) would be playing during the week and on weekends. It is going to affect the players physically, so these measures are to assist the players and assist the teams to use more subs over a weak period. It is a good idea and I like it,” he said.
Forde said he thought it would have a positive effect on the game overall: “I think going forward it is something FIFA will eventually make a part of the laws and write it into the rules, and in the future, you will be seeing five substitutes in the game.”
Last March, the IFAB approved a number of changes and amendments to the Laws of the Game.
An 11-page document with the changes was issued following the 133rd Annual General Meeting of the IFAB in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The changes took effect on June 1, 2019.