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FIFA considers use of extra substitute in next WC

Friday, July 04, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO - Substitutes have made a big impact at the World Cup, and there could more of them in four years' time.

FIFA's coaching advisers will propose that teams can use a fourth substitute in extra time before the 2018 World Cup kicks off.

"I think that's an idea that we will put" to football's rules-making panel, Gerard Houllier, a member of the FIFA technical study group, said at a briefing on Wednesday.

Up to three replacements are currently allowed, even when knockout matches go to extra time after scores are level in regulation time.

Houllier said changing the rules could see fewer players struggle with muscle cramps in high-intensity matches.

"It's a good idea. Only in extra time. Maybe if someone is injured, why not?" the former France coach said.

So far, substitutes have scored 29 goals after coming off the bench in Brazil, already a World Cup record with eight matches left to play. The previous mark was 23 at the 2006 tournament in Germany, FIFA said.

"Substitutes play such an important part because they come with a freshness and attitude," Houllier said.

"Nearly a quarter of (all) the goals have been scored in the final 15 minutes of the game."

Those goals by subs have often been game-changing, rather than additional scores in blowout victories.

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