The additional numbers help the coaches of the 32 teams deal with potential outbreaks of virus cases. (Image: Twitter)
Geneva: FIFA has approved squads of more than 26 players for the World Cup in Qatar, and decided on Thursday to extend the relaxation of football rules that help coaches and players during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move was expected from the FIFA office – which includes the heads of FIFA and the six confederations of football – after expanding the lists of 23 players for the last continental competitions.
After adding three players to the model World Cup roster, UEFA is following the same for last year’s European Championship.
The 28 players from the teams participating in last year’s Copa America in South America and in the Africa Cup of Nations in January were also approved.
The additional numbers help the coaches of the 32 teams deal with potential outbreaks of virus cases. This also means that additional players are already following health protocols within the camp in Qatar rather than being brought in from their home country.
Changing the team size will send a total of 96 additional players to the World Cup, which will be played from November 21 to December 18. The 28-day tournament compares to 32 days four years ago in Russia.
Most of the extra players are likely to come from European clubs whose domestic seasons must stop by November 13 for the first World Cup to be held during the Northern Hemisphere winter.
The teams will only be together for one week before the tournament kicks off rather than the usual preparation time of about two weeks.
FIFA has created a fund of $209 million in World Cup proceeds to compensate clubs at a daily rate of about several thousand dollars for layoffs for players for the national team.
World Cup teams can now use five substitutions in the 90-minute system instead of three.
What began as a temporary rule in 2020 to ease players’ workloads on busy game schedules during the pandemic is now codified in the Laws of the Game.
The FIFA office also set March 16 next year to hold presidential elections in Kigali, Rwanda, during the annual conference of the 211 member associations.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino is seeking a new four-year term to extend his leadership of the world football body to 11 years.
No potential opponent has yet emerged and the deadline for entering the contest is four months before the election. That will fall in mid-November, days before the World Cup kicks off.