5 substitutions per game to become permanent rule in football

Five substitutions per game is set to become a permanent rule change, which could put the Premier League under more pressure to adopt it after reverting back to three substitutions.


The impact of the coronavirus pandemic squeezing the football calendar led lawmakers at the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to increase the number of permitted substitutions per game in official competition from three to five, easing the strain on players.

It was initially intended as a temporary measure but was also extended into the 2021/22 season.

Now, The Times reports that it has been proposed at an IFAB panel meeting to make it a permanent part of the laws of the game, receiving ‘strong support’.

It is up to individual competitions to set their own rules within IFAB laws and the Premier League, having permitted five substitutions per game during ‘Project Restart’ in the summer of 2020, opted to revert back to three at the start of last season.

Rules were adapted to increase the size of Premier League matchday squads from 18 to 20 at the start of this season, but permitted substitutions remained at three. That is out of sync with other major competitions, including the Champions League, which allow five.