There is a legitimate concern that when the beautiful game does return, players will find themselves put under enormous physical strain, due to the remaining fixtures being crammed into such a small time frame.
This is something that can and most probably will see an increase in injuries due to teams not having a proper pre-season to get everyone back into the swing of things.
It is an unavoidable fact that if we want our relevant seasons finished, then there’s going to be a lot more people spending time in the treatment room.
To combat this, FIFA has taken a bold move, at least for them, and are tabling the proposal that each team is allowed to make five substitutions during a match, as opposed to the normal three.
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.
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.
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.”
Each team will be allowed three slots and the half-time break to make these substitutions, though my guess is that that is only for the tactical element of the game. If a player picks up an injury I doubt that they expect the team involved to sacrifice one of those slots to haul their player off.
If this is passed then it will also cover the 2020-2021 season as well and once it’s in place it would have to be an unmitigated failure for FIFA to change it.
After all, just look at VAR.
It’s been 25 years since the three sub-rule was introduced, so this is quite out of character for an organization more known for taking bungs than taking action, and even though it isn’t going to help lower the chances of injuries, it’s nice to see that they’re putting the welfare of the players ahead of their own bank accounts.