Exit the list of 23! FIFA has increased the maximum number of players for each selection to the 2022 World Cup to 26, it announced on Thursday, perpetuating this measure of “flexibility” offered during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Between 23 and 26 players can now be on the final list,” the international federation wrote in a statement.
Fifa explained that it had adopted this measure “with a view to dealing with the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic and the unusual period during which the World Cup will take place”, namely in November-December and not during the summer, which will have the consequence of interrupting the season for football clubs in Europe.
A first enlargement in the face of the risk of Covid-19 contamination
UEFA had already adopted a similar enlargement of the lists last year before the Euro, in the face of the risks of Covid-19 contamination and quarantine which threatened to depopulate the workforce, an unprecedented measure since the national teams had passed from 22 to 23 players at the 2001 Confederations Cup. European coaches were divided on this measure which, if it offered more sporting choice, also posed new problems in terms of management of the workforce and egos for the players least used.
England coach Gareth Southgate had thus revealed that “choosing 23 players is a skill” to be valued for a coach, while Luis Enrique, boss of Spain, had preferred to be content with calling 24 players for the Euro. This expansion of the lists to 26 names for the Mondial-2022 comes as the International Board (Ifab), the body responsible for football laws, “definitively” validated in mid-June the principle of five possible replacements per team and per match, against three before.
The number of substitutes also increased
This amendment to football’s “law 3” 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 meetings. The measure had been extended until December 31, 2022 after a “global analysis of the current impact of Covid-19 on football”.
Ifab members have also decided to increase the maximum number of substitutes on the match sheet “from 12 to 15 at the discretion of the competition organizers”, thereby paving the way for lists of 26 players, and no longer 23 (11 starting players + 15 substitutes). “In total, a maximum of 26 people (up to 15 substitutes and 11 officials, including the team doctor) will be authorized to sit on the sidelines” during the World Cup, FIFA also specified in its press release on Thursday. .