Like La Liga and Champions League, ISL to allow five substitutions per match

The ISL will follow most leagues around the world to tackle COVID issues.

By Rahul Venkat

Clubs will be allowed to make five substitutions per match in the upcoming 2020-21 Indian Super League season, which begins on November 20.

“The ISL teams will have three opportunities to make a total of five substitutions, which doesn’t include half-time,” an official with the ISL told The Times of India.

Moreover, the ISL teams have also been allowed to increase the number of players on their bench to nine from the earlier seven.

Earlier, only three substitutions per team per match was allowed during the course of a game with a fourth allowed if any match went to extra-time.

However, when football resumed across the world after the COVID-19 pandemic, teams were allowed to make five substitutions to allow them to keep the squad fresh and injury-free.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the first manager in the world to make all five substitutions in one go in a match against Sheffield United at the end of last season in the Premier League.

The five-substitute rule is being followed by international leagues like La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga and the UEFA Champions League but Premier League has gone back to the three-substitutes per match rule.

“The five-substitute rule should greatly help clubs who have the luxury of strong bench strength. There would be quite a few tactical innovations due to this rule,” another ISL official said.

Away goal rule stays

The ISL also announced that any knockout matches will be decided by the away goals rule.

The rule stipulates that in case teams have scored an equal number of goals after a two-legged tie, the team that has scored more away goals, i.e in the opposition’s home ground, wins the tie.

In case both teams have also scored the same number of away goals, the tie will then proceed to a penalty shoot-out to determine the winner.

However, there will be no significant 'home advantage' for teams this season.

With the ISL being played entirely at three neutral venues in Goa, each playoff match will be designated as a home match for a particular team and away goals will be decided accordingly.