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Football guardians approve permanent use of five substitutes for top games


Doha (AFP) – Football’s rules body on Monday said that five substitutes would be permanently introduced for all top games and that an automatic offside detector is closer to being introduced for this year’s World Cup.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said the substitute change, which was started after the coronavirus pandemic, followed “strong support from the entire football community”.

He said after the annual meeting of the International Football Associations Board that experts would decide on whether semi-automatic offside detection would be used for the World Cup that starts November 21.

FIFA’s referees chief Pierluigi Collina said he was “confident” that the system would be introduced in time for the 32-nation tournament.

The system monitors 29 data points on the limbs of players to create a skeletal, three-dimensional model that is reviewed pitchside by the referee.

It has been tested at the FIFA Arab Cup last year in Doha and the Club World Cup in February.

“We are very satisfied so far and our experts are looking into it before deciding whether it will be introduced for the World Cup,” Infantino told a press conference.

It is officially known as “semi-automatic” as it will still be the referee that makes a final decision on an offside ruling.

As well as making the five substitutes permanent, IFAB said that teams can now name 15 substitutes on a team sheet instead of 12.

IFAB said that trials with body cameras on referees may be started in a bid to counter a growing number of attacks on match officials.

“Lack of respect for referees and their safety were identified as global problems,” said an IFAB statement. 

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