Soccer’s lawmakers moved Thursday to make permanent the pandemic-era option of using five substitutes and dropped a proposal to let halftime be extended to 25 minutes.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) announced the updates to go to its decision-making annual meeting on March 4-5 in Zurich.
In May 2020, high-level competitions were given the choice to allow teams five replacements in a 90-minute game. It was to help manage players’ health and workload in pending fixture congestion when competitions restarted after a near-global shutdown.
The interim rule is currently available through 2022 and is now set to be written into the laws of soccer.
The 25-minute pause was proposed by South American soccer body CONMEBOL, which wanted the option to stage Super Bowl-style shows at halftime in major games such as cup finals.
IFAB has rejected it citing “the potential negative impact on player welfare and safety resulting from a longer period of inactivity.”
The IFAB panel comprises the four British soccer federations and FIFA delegates. Their business meeting is held in November to shape the agenda for the annual session.