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How many substitutions are allowed in football

Substitutions play a crucial role in football matches as eleven players are not often deemed enough for a manager to register a victory in a match. So how many substitutions are allowed in football?

Substitutions are seemed to be a recent affair but the history goes much behind as the laws of the game demanded some extra legs during the stipulated time of a football game. Prior to the 1954 World Cup during the World Cup qualifiers, substitutes were first introduced on the pitch during a match between West Germany and Saarland.

Richard Gottinger appeared to be the first ever official substitution in football as he replaced Horst Eckel in that match. For English football, the hierarchy was not in favour of substitution during a game and only allowed a single player to be taken off if he is injured during the course of the match.

But managers started to use this opportunity more often and the Keath Peacock became the very first player in English football to become the very first substitute during a match between Charlton and Bolton Wanderers.

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How many substitutions are allowed in football: The evolution of substitutions

As substitutions were already introduced all the leading football associations started to make alterations to the process. In 1992 Premier League teams could name up to three players on the bench and two could be used during the match.

in the 1996-97 season, the number of substitutes rose to three while five players could be named on the reserve bench. That was again increased to seven with three players were allowed to change in the match.

It had been the case until the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. As players tend to miss games frequently after contracting Covid, it was decided to induct a five substitutions rule and a maximum of nine players on the bench.

It has been the case since then and the rule was in place during the last season in all leading football leagues around the world. It is likely to be implemented in the next season too as teams won’t budge from changing the five substitutions rule. The five changes should be made in three substituting opportunities.

The new rules also allow an additional substitution in extra time and it won’t be counted among the regular substitutions. Added to that two concussion substitutes have been permitted if a player suffers a serious head injury and a potential concussion.

Sometimes during a friendly match between two sides, an agreement has already been in place for the total number of substitutes for the game and it could be much more than the five substitutions rule.

Before the Covid era, it used to be a maximum of three players for the substitution but the scenario has changed rapidly. The number of substitutions depend on the intensity of the game.

How many substitutions are allowed in football: The procedure of substitutions

Before the match, all the available names of the substitutes should be submitted to the referee and any other names apart from the given list are not allowed to take the field. The match referee should be made aware of the substitutions and only after his permission the substitutions can take the field.

When it comes to changing the goalkeepers with the playing eleven the referee must be informed before another player takes his place. All the changes have been approved by the international football association.


How many substitutions are allowed in the Premier League?

Currently, a Premier League team can make five substitutions during regulation time.

How many substitutions are allowed in extra time?

One substitution is allowed in extra time.


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