Coronavirus and the Laws of the Game

Coronavirus and the Laws of the Game: some changes are announced by IFAB. There are options for five substitutes, leagues have the possibility to not use the video referee and leagues can choose whether they’ll use old (2019-2020) or updated/new (2020-2021) Laws of the Game.

Key points from the IFAB circular

  • There is a temporary amendment to Law 3, as more substitutes can be used. More about that below.
  • Competitions in which video assistant referees (VARs) are implemented are permitted to cease
    their use upon their restart, at the discretion of the competition organiser
  • The Laws of the Game 2020/21 come into force for competitions (and non-competition matches) as from 1 June 2020, but competitions suspended because of COVID-19 have the option of completing the competition using the Laws of the Game 2019/20 or the Laws of the Game 2020/21, even if the restart is after 1 June 2020.
  • ‘Friendly/warm-up/practice’ matches inpreparation for the restart of the competition should use the version of the Laws that will be used when the competition restarts.

All details are in the circular by IFAB (EN). Other languages on IFAB website.

Law 3 – The Players – temporary amendment

The summary by IFAB on the temporary amendment of Law 3:

  • Each team will be permitted to use a maximum of five substitutes.
  • To reduce disruption to the match, each team will have a maximum of three opportunities to make substitutions during the game; substitutions may also be made at half-time.
  • If both teams make a substitution at the same time, this will count as one of the three opportunities for each team.
  • Unused substitutions and opportunities are carried forward into extra time.
  • Where competition rules allow an additional substitution in extra time, teams will each have one additional substitution opportunity; substitutions may also be made before the start of extra time and at half-time in extra time.

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