Rule could see teams make 10 mid-game changes EACH in FA Cup

Twenty substitutes in a match?! Rule changes to save footballers from burn-out and concussion could see teams make 10 mid-game changes EACH in FA Cup matches next month

  • Managers will be allowed to make 10 substitutes each in the FA Cup in January 
  • The change has been made to prevent burnout and limit the risk of concussion
  • The International Football Association Board say they will trial two new rules  

Managers will be allowed to make 10 substitutes each in the FA Cup to prevent burnout and limit the risk of concussion across football.

The International Football Association Board has confirmed that the new rules will be used on a trial basis in the knock-out competition from January.

The decision comes after the call for action in regards to concussion and amid the hectic fixture schedule. 

Managers will be allowed to make 10 substitutes each in the FA Cup in starting in January

The International Football Association Board has agreed on two rule changes in January.

The first gives a team one additional change in the event of concussion, but the opponent does not get to make a change of their own to compensate.

The second, which the FA plans to use, allows for two concussion substitutes to be made by one team and to maintain fairness, opposition teams will also be able to make a change at the same time. 

The trial will start in January 2021 and the results will be assessed ahead of the Ifab annual general meeting in March 2022. 

The change has been made to prevent burnout and limit the risk of concussion across football

The International Football Association Board will trial two new rules in in the knock-out stages 

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham believes the rule changes will protect player welfare.

Bullingham also expressed his concern for the Premier League’s resistance to the increased number of substitutes.

According to The Telegraph, he said: ‘The reason we want [five subs] in the [FA Cup] is the reason most other leagues around the world have applied it. That is, for player welfare.

‘Yes I am surprised that the Premier League hasn’t brought it in, I think when we started off at an Ifab level we fully expected all of the leading leagues to sign it off for the reason of a very congested season with a lack of pre-season. Whether that decision changes or not, that’s obviously up to the clubs.’ 

The first rule gives a team one additional change in the event of concussion, but the opponent does not get to make a change of their own to compensate

The second rule allows for two concussion substitutes to be made by one team and to maintain fairness, opposition teams will also be able to make a change at the same time

Premier League clubs will take part in a discussion on Thursday to decide on whether to return to three subs. However, it is believed the top-tier will vote in favour of the concussion substitute trials. 

Brain injury charity Headway and Dr Willie Stewart have criticised Ifab’s concussion protocols – saying they would rather players were temporarily substituted so they can be assessed off the pitch, away from the action.

In addition, Dr Stewart claims the new rules are like ‘lipstick on a pig’. 

However, Bullingham responded to such criticism saying he was ‘really surprised’ by suggestions their suggestions and backed the new rules to ‘go further’. 

He said: ‘We’re taking any player that is suspected of concussion off the pitch. I don’t follow the logic there… I understand there are two models that have got different values, but, from our point of view, we see this as a stronger model, the safer model, and that’s what we’re being advised by the medical experts.’  

As it stands, Ifab have extended the five-substitution rule to December 2021 for domestic competitions and to July 2022 for internationals. 




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