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FIFA have proposed introducing a rule which allows five substitutions instead of three to help ease the burden of fixture congestion when football leagues across the world return to action.

Football across Europe has been suspended for over six weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic with decisions still to be made by many leagues as to whether or not they will continue the season if and when it is safe to do so.

Should leagues be completed then they will almost certainly have to be done so within time constraints meaning fixture congestion will likely be an issue.

According to various reports in the media, the proposed rule change would have to be approved by the International Football Association Board and would be at the discretion of the individual leagues.

It is also understood that teams would be allowed a maximum of three slots plus the half-time interval to avoid unnecessary stoppages in play.

“When competitions resume, such competitions are likely to face a congested match calendar with a higher-than-normal frequency of matches played in consecutive weeks,” a FIFA spokesperson said, in quotes reported by RTÉ.

“Safety of the players is one of FIFA’s main priority then. 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.

“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.”

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