Banning late substitutions? Why not just leave the game alone?

So, the rule makers are thinking of putting a time cap on how late substitutions can be made. It’s almost like the game’s governing body, the International FA Board, sit around changing legislation for the sake of it, just to justify their salaries.

The idea is to stop managers making changes just to waste time. We have all been in that situation where we are chasing a goal in the 90th minute, just to see the opposition suddenly take an extra minute to take off the player, who just so happens to be on the other side of the pitch (although we love it when we are the ones doing it).

Those who want to implement a new policy are essentially saying they don’t trust officials to add up. If that’s the case we just as well do what they do in the NBA, stop the clock when the ball is out of play, so the whistle is blown as soon as the clock hits exactly 90 minutes. That would take away the drama of a stoppage time winner (the most thrilling feelings in the sport).

At end of the day everyone knows the rules and has a level playing field. If a boss chooses to save his subs to the last few seconds, that’s part of their game management. If you’re in a situation where your making changes in stoppage time, you have worked hard to put yourself in that position.

ROY HODGSON SAID: “It is a complicated subject,”

“Does it mean that the moment the 90 minutes is up, that you would have to play with 10 men if a player got injured? And for the guy who wants to waste time, who is going to actually decide whether the player is feigning injury or not?”

As a fan who didn’t appreciate how many penalties VAR gave us in the World Cup, sometimes I just wish we would leave the game alone.

Dan Smith


  1. Wolf says:

    I see no problem with it, managers will have to be a bit more tactful. I’ll go with no subs in injury time. Forget the basket ball method.

    1. jon fox says:

      How can you think we should have one rule in the 90 mins and another in injury time? That is madness . You have not thought through the ramifications of this at all! OR PERHAPS WE SHOULD INCREASE THE GOAL SIZE IN INJURY TIME. YOUR COMMENT IS AS DAFT AS THAT!

      1. zTOM says:

        How? Very easily so, it’s a simple concept, really. : )
        Rules used to change with the Silver/Golden goal after 90 minutes as well and penalty shootouts also are by definition a change of the rules happening after a set time.
        Nothing new and it sounds very easy to put in application as well.

        1. jon fox says:

          Not a proper comparison to my comment. Silver/ golden goals are not used now, unless I am mistaken, and were a daft and contrived idea which fans hated. There is an intense excitement about pen shoot outs BUT those were brought in only to stop endless replays, which , in the main , is sensible. But the proposed injry time sub change is change for changes sake. Their is nothing wrong with using the injury time as right now. Where any problem, only VERY occasionally rises , is with the ref not adding or adding too much injury time. That problem should years ago have been taken out of the refs remit, by a time keeper in the stand, like in Rugby, who can more properly assess injury time. I have lost count of the times over the years that I have seen the ref stop his stop watch after an injury but much too late after it. Most games if injury time was properly assessed would go on longer than now and that would add to the excitement and be good for the game. Not, therefore change for changes sake, BUT because it is a long needed and clear improvement. I am NOT against change; just against silly and needless change, like this daft proposal.

          1. john hodges says:

            i long for the game to be played with the old rules,also english rules as in the old yellow or red cards,no subs,no players rolling in agony playacting,players always complaining to the ref,goal keepers acting like a jack in the box,i could go on, just a thought from an angry old man,cheers.

          2. jon fox says:

            John ,I fully agree with the general drift of your post , though personally, I realise the game has changed too far to go back to those days which, though good in many ways, also had many problems that todays games do not. Muddy pitches, leg breaking tackles were common place and you has to virtually maim soneone to even get booked. Open crowd racism was rife, which was disgusting and a stain on the character of all who encouraged it, or worse still, perpetrated it. Many of the changes have been beneficial but just not all of them. I hate the cheating and diving which used not to happen decades ago. Teammates would have called you a ripe name or two if you pretended to be hurt but were not; in fact those words would upset many of todays snowflake players. I have never liked the fact keepers can’t now pick up a backpass, which I think has worsened the game. Just my opinion though. Above all I loathe the way passionate fans are mistreated by rapacious owners and by football authorities who blithely change fixture dates and times to suit the sponsors(TV) but care nothing about disadvantaged fans. The game in general is far less honourable these days, though vastly better and quicker in technique.

          3. john hodges says:

            jon thanks for the reply,you put better than i did,i am not much of a writer.

  2. Invisible says:

    I’d like to go with NBA style. No more time wasting by feigning injuries etc….. As long as the ball is not in play, the game time stands still. I know the purist would want the game to be left as it is, but if changes are a must, then NBA style is the best.

    1. jon fox says:

      On that basis most games would last two and a half hours. It is generally accepted that the ball is only in active play right now for somewhere between 45-60 mins , dependent on the actual game.

  3. Break-on-through says:

    Hodgson made a valid point, sure even when it is obv to everyone that a player is playacting the ref never tells him get up out of that. If the subs all need to be made before a certain time, he’s right, what happens when you really are a player down. There is too much room for teams to take advantage. The basketball rules, players do be knackered the way it is now, at the end most of them are running on empty. If you stopped the time every time it went out of play, I think it would be too exhausting, and it would worsen injury problems. They should be able to judge fairly how much time to add on, they should have a discussion about that. They should have people ready to get onto the pitch in seconds, with stretchers, ready to take off a player who’s rolling around wasting up the time, whether he wants to leave or not.

  4. Leo says:

    Pls admin I think it high time the site own its own Android app…would allow for easy access and interactions… Which made it more attractive as b4 we lost the likes n dislikes buttons.

  5. Innit says:

    LOL if this had happened a few years ago, Wenger wouldn’t have made so many late substitutions lol.

    Anyway, looks like Liverpool aren’t interested in Ramsey after all lol

  6. Martin says:

    I agree it’s a stupid idea and therefore leave well alone. I cannot believe however that you are happy with constant wrong decisions being made and you reject VAR. It works well in tennis and rugby so why not in football. I cannot understand why having more penalties is a problem. If it’s showing more offences in the penalty area is that not a good thing?

    1. jon fox says:

      Exactly right on ALL you say!

      1. ozziegunner says:


  7. zTOM says:

    The only exception I’d bring is that, upon validation of the referee, a replacement could be made if the goalkeeper gets injured during extra time AND one of the sub was still unused (so that managers can’t exploit this if penalty shootouts are getting near for example).

    If the manager had used up all his subs then too bad for him, which is what happens at the moment anyway.

  8. Grandad says:

    The NBA procedure is not in any way complicated and would work perfectly well in Assoc. Football. End of story.

  9. jon fox says:

    To change to a contrived and unnatural rule would be madness. Imagine how stupid it would be to have one rule for the actual 90 minutes and a different one in injury time. LEAVE WELL ALONE. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it by keeping tinkering. I would only change the silly rule which means an injured player, by an opponent usually, has to leave the pitch before re-entering. Madness and it holds back the injured team whil letting the guily team play 11 against ten. This is bonkers. There is nothing wrong with having whatever injury time is required. It adds to the excitement usually. The hooter, as in Rugby, should be sounded by a timekeeper in the stand and taken away from the ref, who has more than enough to watch out for as it is.

    1. Angus says:

      You mean like our best manager in history? you wanted him gone a decade ago…. when Gilberto and Lehman were still on the books….

      1. Angus says:

        Guarantee you have to actually look up the dates because you don’t know lol

        1. ozziegunner says:

          Angus, give it a rest and move on please.

          1. ken1945 says:

            ozziegunner, completely agree with you, but doesn’t your comment hold true for EVERYONE ON HERE?
            It’s human nature to react to something one doesn’t agree with.
            But saying that, I can’t understand why, Angus, you reacted this way on this post.
            Guess it’s just frustration at the continuing way our ex manager is being blamed for things that are now quite patently not true.
            As they say Angus, time will tell…time will tell.

          2. ozziegunner says:

            Ken, I agree. I see no problem in sticking up for Arsene Wenger when he is unfairly criticized; however some people on here appear to have not accepted that Arsene Wenger is no longer the Arsenal manager. Instead of getting behind Unai Emery and Arsenal they should move their allegiance to whichever club gives Arsene Wenger his next job.

      2. jon fox says:

        Sorry but what has your off topic post got to do with what i posted? A completely different subject, yet you addressed in answer to my post, that never mentioned Wenger, ex-players or even Arsenal at all. Why exactly did you do this? By all means , if you think fit, post a comment addressing an off topic comment . But WHY post such an off topic post in specific answer to one of my posts, unless you have a personal agenda. An agenda that, I strongly suspect, entails me being seen as your enemy by you because I have wanted WENGER OUT FOR A DECADE, WHILE YOU STILL WORSHIP HIM. Unless you are prepared to state on here that I am mistaken. I challenge you to do so and to also explain your reason for posting specifically in answer to my post

  10. Durand says:

    I say no thanks to rule change. I consider the subs to be tactical, and both managers have that opportunity.

    I don’t think it’s a justifiable change, and who decides if a player is “injured?”
    Ref? Team doc? 3rd part doc? Can opposing team contest “injury?”

    I think it creates more problems than it solves, and it’s needless meddling in my opinion.

  11. ThirdManJW says:

    But aren’t the refs meant to add on 30 seconds per sub anyway? If that time isn’t being added on, then it’s their fault, not the managers.

    1. jon fox says:

      Actually refs are supposed to add on precisely the number of seconds a sub takes to happen. NOTHING IN THE LAWS MENTIONS A 30 SECOND RULE. This is PRECISELY, why all final half/ full time time keeping should be taken away from refs completely, as they already have far too much else to concentrate on.

  12. mistamonn says:

    haven’t commented on here for ages, probably since we still had thumbs going up and down. but i just have to say something about this late substitution ban…it sucks! at least until they address the issue of the possibility of late injuries because it would not be fair to the team with 10 men. A lot can happen in 30 seconds in football. Lets say the team with 11 players is awarded a corner in the dying seconds, that’s one more player to defend against especially when the attacking team’s goalie runs up to join the party.

  13. Dory says:

    NBA time is a good idea. Just have a designated clock manager who keeps the official time. He can even been in the stands or press box. When the ball is dead or out of play the clock stops. When it’s back in it starts. The game ends at 90 min. We would still have to exciting endings. They will just happen in the 89th min.

  14. RSH says:

    I dont think this is a real problem. Just leave it as it is

  15. ken1945 says:

    if we didn’t consider changing the rules, what would we have today?

    No substitutions.
    No extra time.
    Endless cup replays.
    No shirts with numbers and names on.
    No sponsorship.
    Leather balls.
    Sensible offside rules.
    No red and yellow cards.
    No retrospective action resulting from TV replays.
    No VAR.
    No women referees and linesmen sorry women.
    Divisions divided North and South.
    No premier league.
    No transfer windows.
    No football agents.
    No all seater stadiums.

    That’s just some I can think of, Kenny Rolfe and others will tell you of many more.
    Not saying there good or bad, just pointing out the facts.

    As far as the article is concerned, hasn’t every single team/club used the same tactics as each other?
    Great if it’s to your advantage, absolutely unsporting and despicable if it’s not.

    1. Declan says:

      There at least 4 things on your list Ken that I wish we still had.

    2. Goonster says:

      And back passes to the keeper were allowed. A player would do a back pass and the keepers were allowed to pick up the ball with their hands. Not handball 🙂

      1. jon fox says:

        I would gladly go back to that keeper back pass being allowed and to pick up. I never liked the change of that rule. Some changes to rules, yes, but not others!

  16. Declan says:

    It’s being ‘discussed’ by the FA not implemented, discussed, as we are here and it will not happen, IMHO.

  17. if there was VAR maybe we would have gained all three points against crystal palace

    1. jon fox says:

      MORE LIKELY NONE , ACTUALLY. Lacas handball was definite and would have ruled out Aubas goal. Xhakas “foul” was even later on TV admitted by him to have been one. Even though, I personally disagree . I thought ZAHA chose to go down , not made to. But would VAR have ruled out their pen? Debateable at best!

  18. Midkemma says:

    Those who want to implement a new policy are essentially saying they don’t trust officials to add up. If that’s the case we just as well do what they do in the NBA, stop the clock when the ball is out of play, so the whistle is blown as soon as the clock hits exactly 90 minutes. That would take away the drama of a stoppage time winner (the most thrilling feelings in the sport).

    This part of the article is what I agree with, I do not trust the refs, we have all seen a ref show his joy at the spuds scoring… Would any of you trust him to be fair and unbiased against us? He hasn’t been so far… I think we can all guess who I mean here 😛

    Technology is the way forward, we need to learn how to use it in ways to keep the game what it is meant to be, not some dodgy ref deciding or whoever earns an oscar during the game.

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