FIFA could allow 5 substitutes when matches resume, based on new proposal

Substitute board - referee - alone

When soccer around the world resumes, it's possible it could do so while allowing teams to utilize five substitutes per match, according to a new FIFA proposal being considered by the International Football Association Board.

The proposal aims at limiting the overuse of players by teams facing a more condensed schedule, according to a FIFA statement issued to numerous news outlets. While European teams trying to complete their 2019-2020 seasons face the most immediate time crunch, it appears the change would apply across the globe for a period of time, including in all national team games — including continental championships and World Cup qualifying — through December of 2021.

In an effort to avoid time wasting that could result from the extra substitutions, teams would be required to make all five of their changes during three breaks in play. A sixth substitute would be allowed in matches requiring extra time.

Currently, international friendlies are commonly played with six substitutes allowed. MLS has operated within FIFA's rules on substitutions since the 2004 season.