Qatar 2022: The "five changes" option adopted

The International board (Ifab), guarantor of football laws, definitively validated, Monday in Doha, the option of five changes per team and per match instead of three.

The continuation on July 1 of the change from three to five changes per match in all competitions organized by Fifa responds “to the wishes of the players in the game”, explained Patrick Nelson, the leader of the Irish Federation (represented within the Ifab in the same way as the English, Scottish, Welsh federations and Fifa).

It should be noted that this amendment to football’s “Law 3”, providing for a maximum of three substitutions per match, had been decided by Ifab in May 2020, in the context of the pandemic, and was to run until the end of 2021 for club competitions and until July 31, 2022 for international matches.

Moreover, if the 5 changes have been validated, the semi-automatic detection of offsides will wait.

For Gianni Infantino, president of the FFIFA, who spoke at the end of the 136th annual general meeting of the Ifab, “the evaluation of this technology” hitherto very satisfactory” continues and “our experts will analyze this before deciding whether we use it at the World Cup or not”.

Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, said he was “confident” when it was used during the tournament in Qatar from November 21 to December 18.

This optical tracking system in support of video refereeing (VAR), tested at the Arab Cup at the end of 2021 and then at the Club World Cup in early 2022, should make it possible to speed up refereeing decision-making.

It relies on the cameras that are used for television broadcasting as well as specific cameras and gives the exact position of the players on the field, providing the referees with precise information in a few seconds.

Once the decision is made, this AI-based technology transforms the footage into a 3D animation that can be displayed on the pitches’ big screen.

On another aspect, the members of Ifab have also decided to increase the maximum number of substitutes on the match sheet “from 12 to 15 at the discretion of the organizers of the competitions”, is it specified in a press release.

This paves the way for lists of 26 players, and no longer 23, for the next World Cup in Qatar, a wish of many coaches.

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