The Indian top flight is set to begin from November 20.

Following in the footsteps of the top leagues in Europe, Indian Super League (ISL) have decided to allow clubs to make five substitutions this season, reports TOI. Khel Now had earlier reported about the authorities making the decision to follow several top European leagues in the 2020-21 season in this regard.

The five substitutions rule was implemented when football returned in Europe after several months, as the coronavirus pandemic brought an unprecedented halt to all sporting activities across the globe. The rule was introduced to reduce the workload on players who had been out of competition for several months and had to play many matches in a short period of time.

Teams were allowed to make five substitutions, but only at three intervals. Looking at the feedback from top European leagues, the ISL have decided to follow suit as most of the players will be resuming football after several months and there is a high possibility of sustaining injuries.

“The ISL teams will have three opportunities to make a total of five substitutions, which doesn’t include half-time,” a source close to the development told TOI. It is also understood that the players’ bench will be increased from seven to nine to accommodate more options.

Apart from the Premier League, all other top European leagues including the UEFA Champions League have gone ahead with the five substitutions rule in the 2020-21 season.

“It is a good rule and should greatly help clubs who have the luxury of more strength in depth. There would be quite a few tactical innovations too due to this rule,” an official quoted.

Other than adding the new rule, the organizers have not changed any of the old ones. The away goals rule in the playoffs remains the same.

According to the league, “if at the end of normal time of the second match of any home and away playoff match, the two competing teams are level on score after taking into account the aggregate result over two legs, then the club which has scored more away goals shall qualify for the finals.”

The away goals rule will not be applicable for goals scored in extra-time. So, if the scores remain the same even in extra-time then the game will roll over to penalties.

The seventh season of the Indian Super League is set to start on November 20, with ATK Mohun Bagan going up against the Kerala Blasters.

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