FIFA finally made the rules of extending the squad to 26 men and five substitutions permanent, including for World Cup Qatar 2022.


The world football governing body has been tipped earlier regarding such issue since the qualifying round was completed.  This change has been reportedly approved by International Football Association Board (IFAB) to alter the official Laws of the Game recently. It is implemented for the sake of players' wellness due to the congested fixtures lately and the coronavirus pandemic which does yet exactly vanish from the world. Such is bound to be well appreciated by all players, managers and the teams since Qatar 2022 is held in the winter or right in the midst of domestic competitions. Players are likely to suffer fatigue with this congested fixtures among the elite sides.


The five-substitution rule already made temporarily back in mid 2020 as several competitions in Europe restarted in June. It has been continually used up to now in almost all leagues in Europe and America, including MLS in USA, but not English Premier League. The England's top tier domestic competition returned to three substitutions instead in 2020/21 and 2021/22 season due to the objections from the smaller sides. However, this official change will definitely push all teams in all competitions to use five subs, including the world cup contestants in Qatar later.


Meanwhile, the extended squad for major tournament was already imposed in European Championship 2020 held in summer 2021 because of the same reason. At that time, UEFA allowed each team to have 26 players in the squad, instead of 23. Such did help the teams to have space to perform during the tournament without having a critical squad crisis despite the fact that some teams did have to lose several key players because of being tested positive COVID-19, including the likes of Spain skipper Sergio Busquets and Sweden's Dejan Kulusevski.


In Copa America 2021, CONMEBOL even let each contestant have 28 players in the final rooster. It was due to the fact that the pandemic was at its peak in South America at that time. Apart from the final game, the whole matches during the tournament were staged behind closed doors. Argentina eventually came out as the champions in that continental competition ending their title drought since 1993.


This adjustment in the football rules of the game shall mark the historic regulation change in world cup for three editions in a row since Brazil 2014. Back then, FIFA introduced goal line technology as well as special time out for the teams led by the extreme heat during the tournament, most notably the round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico. Next in Russia 2018, Video Assistant Review or simply known as VAR was first imposed in the world cup final round.