World football governing body FIFA has proposed to allow teams make up to five substitutions per game to enable players cope with the return to action after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Football in many parts of the world remains suspended as countries battle the disease that has infected close to 3 million people and killed over 207,000.
The FIFA changes would see teams allowed three substitution slots during play time and the other two during the halftime break to avoid unnecessary stoppages.
The proposals are subject to approval from the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which is responsible for the laws of the game.
“Safety of the players is one of FIFA’s main priorities. One concern in this regard is that the higher-than-normal frequency of matches may increase the risk of potential injuries due to a resulting player overload,” Sky News quotes a FIFA spokesperson.
“In light of this, and in light of the unique challenge faced globally in delivering competitions according to the originally foreseen calendar, FIFA proposes that a larger number of substitutions be temporarily allowed, at the discretion of the relevant competition organiser.
“In competitions where less than five substitutions are currently allowed, each team would now be given the possibility to use up to five substitutions during the match, with the possibility of an additional substitution remaining during extra time, where relevant.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been seen to be gradually easing as health authorities around the world continue the fight. Many countries are optimistic the disease will be defeated in the coming weeks, as the number of new infections and fatalities continues to decrease.
Some leagues have announced plans to return to training with possible return to action dates set a few weeks ahead.
Germany for instance hopes to restart its top two leagues next month.
The English Premier League on the other hand is looking at restarting games in June, dependent on a government approval.
(With input from Sky Sports)