German Bundesliga to allow five substitutions

Saturday will see the German top flight return and teams will be able to make more changes during a match

Bundesliga clubs will be able to use five substitutes when it returns from its suspension enforced due to the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, the German Football League (DFL) announced on Thursday.

The new rule was approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to help protect player welfare with fixtures set to come thick and fast as the sport continues its schedule in a restricted time frame.

The Bundesliga will become the first major European league to return to action when it resumes behind closed doors on Saturday after a two-month stoppage. Germany’s second tier will also be back this weekend.

A DFL statement read: “From now on, each club will have a total of three opportunities to substitute players during a game, including the half-time break.

“If there is extra time in the second leg of the relegation play-offs, both teams are given a fourth opportunity to change players, which they can use in the interruption between regular time and extra time or in the half-time period of extra time. The DFL ‘Football Commission’ recommends that a maximum of two players be substituted at the same time.”

All but one of the 36 clubs from the top two leagues voted in favour of completing the 2019-20 season, including relegation, if it is legally possible.

Although the season is set to finish on the weekend of June 27-28, the DFL said games could take place into July if required. No decision was made on what will occur if the season cannot be completed due to health reasons.

“In the event that the season has to be abandoned prematurely, a regulation regarding the sporting classification is to be developed within the next two weeks,” the statement said.

Venues for matches could also be changed at short notice in the event of a local outbreak of Covid-19.

“There will also be the possibility of a match being played in another stadium at short notice for overriding compelling legal, organisational and/or security reasons,” said the DFL.

There are nine full rounds of fixtures remaining in the Bundesliga, with Bayern Munich sitting four points clear of Borussia Dortmund at the summit. The two teams will meet at Signal Iduna Park on May 26.

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