When football lawmakers and the IFAB met in Doha, they decided to include five substitutions in the game’s statutes. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the rule went into effect in May 2020.
IFAB is also considering concussion substitutions and semi-automated offside technology. The Premier League became the first major league to forsake the five-substitution rule and return to a maximum of three substitutions per match for the 2020-21 season. Despite the International Football Association’s recommendation that five substitutions be made permanent in the sport in October 2021, the rule did not apply to the 2021-22 season as some clubs thought it gave those with larger squads an unfair advantage.
Following a March referendum, Premier League clubs agreed to allow five substitutes in 2022-23. Substitutions can be made three times throughout a game, excluding halftime changes, with a sixth change possible if the game goes overtime. Only the Ifab meeting in Doha will be a talking topic regarding concussion substitutes and semi-automated offside equipment.
The five-substitute rule is a temporary increase in the maximum number of substitutes a team can make during a game, from three to five.
Furthermore, the Premier League has increased the maximum number of substitutes allowed on the bench from seven to nine.
While the total number of substitutions allowed in a game has increased from six to ten, managers can only make changes at three points during the game.
Limiting the number of stoppages for substitutions reduces the disruption level in a match.
The Rule Change
Teams will be permitted to use five substitutes per game in 2022/2023 instead of the customary three. Due to this rule change, nine substitutes will be on the matchday team sheet.
Why Change Now?
The main reason for changing the number of substitutions is to lessen the negative impacts of increased match intensity and fixture congestion, which directly affect player health and welfare.
According to recent research, December and January are the two months of the season when EPL players are four times more likely to suffer an in-game hamstring injury than any other.
Impact on Football
FIFA extended its recommendation to maintain the five substitutes last month, and most top leagues have either complied with this recommendation or will do so. Some contend that the players’ well-being is still at risk given the teams’ upcoming season’s tight schedule and limited preparation time. Even though the situation is still far from ideal, it has improved significantly from where we were in May.
The stats are not improving, and the possibility of fans returning to stadiums is low, but there is more predictability today than two months ago. It will help clubs to hold better preseason camps and prepare themselves mentally for the upcoming season. Managers will thus have a more stable playing field to work with thanks to the new five substitution regulation.
Depending on your strategy, you might radically alter your offensive or defensive line in this method. Even if doing so is unconventional and hazardous, it still allows managers a lot of flexibility to divide their player roster in half and use all of some of their players in just one half. Instead of utilizing a single grand strategy, managers may divide their game plans into two parts.
With three substitutes, the prospect of changing the course of the game was extremely minimal, as managers tended to save their subs for the last 30 or 20 minutes in case of injury or red cards and to keep at least one until the final minutes of the game. Furthermore, even if they took a chance and changed three players early in the game, there were seven more players, excluding the goalie, who had been on the field since the opening whistle.
Managers are free to rotate out half of their team at any moment under the rule. Teams can change three players at halftime and two more at the 70-minute mark. They can attempt to alter the course of the game at least twice, encouraging them to be more adventurous in their tactics. Most managers may begin with aggressive tactics, sap some of their players’ energies, and reenergize them without taking too many risks. Given that both sides can do so, the competition’s level would rise. Football may become a more exciting game in the upcoming season when players take a break before returning to the game.
This will definitely reflect on those fans who occasionally like to place a bet or two on football. Betting on a player to score a goal won’t be the same anymore, as strikers will most likely play fewer minutes, and have fewer scoring opportunities. So, this can potentially make a revolution in the sports betting world, and force player odds to change, similarly to NBA. The fewer minutes a player gets on average, the higher the odds for him to score.
Furthermore, with both teams having five substitutes, the timing of these substitutions will be critical. Assume a team makes three substitutes in the 60th minute, and their opponent responds after five or ten minutes. In this situation, five or ten minutes may seem insignificant. Still, the gap in stamina between the new players and their opponents will make a significant difference. This distinction may cause abrupt changes in the game, making substitutes a valid breaking point. We may divide the game in our minds not only as first and second halves but also before and after a group of substitutes is made.
After one manager acts, the other will have the advantage because they will play their cards while their opponent has fewer substitutes, and the team is starting to tire. With three substitutions, it was nearly impossible to achieve the same result; however, with five sub-rule, we could witness a more exciting football game.