National team coaches will only be allowed to use six substitutes in friendly matches from next season, one of a number of decisions reached today by the International Football Association Board in London.
Limit of substitutes
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter had supported a maximum limit of five to end the practice of coaches changing their entire team halfway through friendly matches, and a compromise has been reached at six in a meeting that also made decisions on deciding level games, the length of
half-time and earpieces.
Golden goal abolished
From next season, the golden goal and silver goal will be abandoned, and knockout matches will be decided by 30 minutes of extra time and, if necessary, penalties. However, like all the rulings, it will not come into effect until 5 July, the day after the UEFA EURO 2004™ final. This summer’s UEFA European Championship will still use the silver goal rule, as will all UEFA competitions this season.
Artificial pitches allowed
Meanwhile, matches will be able to be played on either natural grass or artificial pitches, according to the rules of the relevant competition and as long as the artificial turf meets FIFA standards. The experiment of advancing
free-kicks 9.15 metres following dissent is to be extended for another season, and a yellow card for a player removing his shirt in a goal celebration will be reintroduced.
However, the Board rejected a proposal to extend half-time from 15 to 20 minutes, and has outlawed radio links allowing coaches to communicate via earpieces with goalkeepers on the field, along with the one-piece kits as used by Cameroon in the recent African Cup of Nations.
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