La Liga will allow five substitutions, rather than the traditional three, for the upcoming season, which kicks off this week. The rule was changed last season after the pandemic forced the league into a break without games.
Each team’s matchday squad will allow 23 players, from which managers will field 11 to start and up to 5 from the bench. However, substitutions must be made only during three periods throughout the match, meaning that, by force, a team must make multiple switches at the same time if they want to use up all their subs.
The change was initially thought to be temporary, although now it is possible that the rules are here to stay.
This isn’t the first time the substitution rule has expanded. Originally, football allowed no substitutions. It then became one, then two, and finally three in 1995. A fourth substitute in extra time in some competitions was allowed starting in 2014. FIFA has allowed local football governing bodies to use three or five substitutions, or even six in case of extra time, since the outbreak of the pandemic rocked the football world.