Monday, 16 January 2017

Letter to IFAB, Part Two - Allow a subbed player to re-enter the game

My letter to IFAB made the following proposal on substitutions. More flexibility in this area seems a logical progression given current squad sizes, the increased number of players allowed on the bench, and the physical demands of the modern game.

Demonstration by numbers -
liberalise the substitution laws now!
The rule already exists in amateur games at the lower levels of the German amateur game (where all substituted players may return to the game), and in the US college game - any subbed player may return to the game once in each half. That's a little over the top because it can make for too many stoppages, but most coaches don't use it excessively for the obvious reason that it's too disruptive to a team's rhythm.

The German FA recently made another move in this direction, with immediate effect, stipulating that in all men's and women's FA cup games teams may use a fourth substitute during extra-time. This will
almost certainly become the international standard in coming years, because there's nothing to speak against it.

Proposal: A player who has been substituted may return to the game once if all substitutes have been exhausted. Limit: one player per team.
Reason: Why should a team that suffers an injury after using all its substitutes be penalised by playing a man short?
How it will work: A single player on each team will be allowed to return to the field once during the course of the game to replace a team-mate, if that team has already used its allocation of three substitutes.
Consequences: Fairness and tactical flexibility. To avoid exploiting this new law for time-wasting, a period of one minute will be automatically added to the game for any such substitution.

Discuss, reject, ignore, tear apart etc. Suggestions 3-6 will follow in due course.

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