The participating teams will, thus, also be allowed to have a maximum of 10 players on the bench.

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is all set to allow teams to make five substitutions in the upcoming I-League Qualifiers. Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities have been forced to make amends to the age-old rules and regulations of the sport.

With the five-substitutions rule in place, teams will be allowed to have a maximum of 10 players on the bench. However, only three interventions will be allowed to make the substitutions, so as to maintain the flow of the game. Moreover, any substitution made during half-time will not be considered an intervention. In addition, a water break will likely be taken in each of the halves. It is believed that similar regulations will be followed in the I-League next season as well.

“Given the fact that players are coming out of a break of 5-6 months and that they have not necessarily been able to have an adequate pre-season, we thought it wise to have five substitutions in place,” quoted Sunando Dhar, CEO, AIFF Leagues as per The Times of India. “The priority is the health and safety of the players.”

While sporting activities have resumed elsewhere in the world, Indian football will also be back in action for the first time since March. Ahead of the 2020-21 season of the I-League which is reportedly scheduled to begin in November, five teams from the Second Division are set to compete in a mini-tournament in Kolkata to earn promotion. The tournament will be played across two venues — Kalyani Stadium and Salt Lake Stadium.

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Meanwhile, the five teams are — ARA FC (Ahmedabad), Garhwal FC (Delhi), FC Bengaluru United (Bengaluru), Mohammedan SC and Bhawanipore FC (both Kolkata). The participating teams have already brought in several reinforcements to their respective squads, as they aim to finish atop the table to earn promotion to the I-League.

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