IFAB advisory panels recommend making five-substitute option permanent
Various key footballing matters and proposals for potential Law changes were the focus of discussions at today’s FIFA-chaired virtual meeting of The IFAB’s Football and Technical Advisory Panels (FAP-TAP), at which particular attention was devoted to the temporary amendment to Law 3 – The Players. In May 2021, due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global football, The IFAB Board of Directors approved a further extension to the temporary amendment (introduced in May 2020) giving all top domestic and international competitions scheduled to be completed by 31 December 2022 the option of allowing teams to use up to five substitutes. Following a number of requests from confederations, associations, leagues and other key stakeholders for this option to be introduced permanently in the Laws of the Game (2022/23 edition), FAP-TAP today recommended that competitions should be able to decide on increasing the number of substitutes according to the needs of their football environment, while the current number of substitution opportunities (three plus half-time) should stay the same. Another matter discussed at today’s meeting was a clarification for the next edition of the Laws of the Game, namely, to confirm that a goalkeeper must be on the goal line before a penalty kick (or kick from the penalty mark) is taken but is not penalised for then having one foot behind the goal line at the moment when the kick is taken. Members also received an update on the early results of the global trial with additional permanent concussion substitutes, including initial statistics. As concussion incidents have occurred very rarely since the beginning of the trial in January 2021, it was recommended that the trial be extended beyond the initial end date (August 2022) to be able to gather more relevant data. Furthermore, FIFA provided FAP-TAP with an update on future video assistant referee (VAR) innovations that could allow competitions with limited budgets to access and use VAR technology (VAR Light), and on the latest developments with new electronic performance and tracking system (EPTS) devices. On CONMEBOL’s request to consider an increase of the half-time interval from 15 to 25 minutes, several members shared their concerns, particularly regarding the potential negative impact on player welfare and safety resulting from a longer period of inactivity. Feedback from the meeting will be presented at The IFAB Annual Business Meeting on 25 November 2021, where the agenda will be set for the Annual General Meeting on 4-5 March 2022, to be held in Zurich, Switzerland.