The IFAB has permanently approved the five-substitute option in top-level competitions

The IFAB approved the changes and clarifications to the Laws of the Game 2022/23 at its 136th Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held in Doha, Qatar. These changes and clarifications will go into effect on July 1, 2022.

At the AGM, which was led by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and attended by representatives from FIFA, The FA, the Irish FA, the Scottish FA, the FA of Wales, and The IFAB administration, they talked about the ongoing trials of concussion substitutes, possible alternatives to “offside,” and the latest technological developments that can help match officials.

The safety of referees and the lack of respect for them were named as global problems. The members agreed to come up with ways to deal with these problems, such as having referees in adult grassroots football try out body cameras.


In May 2020, FIFA asked the IFAB to make a change to Law 3: The Players to protect the health and safety of players during the global pandemic. In response, the IFAB made a temporary change that gave top domestic and international competitions the option of letting teams use up to five substitutes. This rule was extended several times.

At today’s meeting, the IFAB agreed with the ABM, the meeting of the Football and Technical Advisory Panels (FAP-TAP), and the strong support from the whole football community that this option should be added to the Laws of the Game 2022/23. It was confirmed that players can only be switched out three times plus at halftime.

Also, the members decided to raise the number of named substitutes that could be listed on the team sheet from 12 to 15, which would be up to the person in charge of the competition.

The early results of the global trial with more permanent concussion replacements were shared with the members. Even though the trials include more than 140 competitions, the AGM agreed with the ABM’s decision to keep the trials going until August 2023 so that enough data can be collected to make a scientifically valid decision. Temporary concussion replacements were looked at again, but the members agreed that the trials should keep focusing on permanently taking out any player with a real or possible concussion so that this player doesn’t keep playing in the match. Everyone agreed that more training is needed to make sure that the trial protocols are used correctly.

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