UEFA to retain 5 subs rule for rest of season

September 25 – UEFA are to adopt the five substitutes rule in their competitions for the rest of the season in line with many domestic leagues in order to cope with a congested calendar created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“After representations from clubs and national associations the executive committee approved the use of five substitutions in club and international matches for the rest of the season,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

The English Premier League is the only one of the so-called Big Five leagues to controversially stick to three subs for this season.

But UEFA said it was necessary to permit five “in order to alleviate the burden on players caused by the condensed international match calendars 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The international players’ union FIFPro were quick to commend UEFA’s decision to switch from three to five subs.

“This is the right decision and a good first step to ease pressure on elite-level players,” said the organisation’s general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said.

“We will continue to push for further innovative ways to reduce their mounting workload and protect their health and performance.”

UEFA’s executive committee, having reached an agreement with the European Club Association and the European Leagues,  also approved stretching the March and September international match windows in 2021 to allow for three fixtures instead of two.

And Ceferin also announced the 2021 UEFA Congress will take place in Switzerland in March next year, rather than the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

The city in the former Soviet republic has been the global focus of popular uprisings against president Alexander Lukashenko.

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