26-Player Match Day Squad Approved by FIFA for Qatar World Cup


FIFA have approved the rule to allow nations 15 players on the bench during games at the World Cup in Qatar, taking the match-day squads to a total of 26 players, Sami Mokbel reports.

The rule was introduced by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and confirmed for the winter World Cup by FIFA on Thursday, June 23.

FIFA Allow 26-Player Match Day Squads for Qatar 2022

What Has Changed?

The decision to increase the number of players available on the bench was taken to help ease the workload after the Covid-19 pandemic and the uniqueness of a winter World Cup. UEFA introduced a similar rule for Euro 2020, increasing the tournament squad to 26 but match-day squads remained at 23.

Fifteen players will be available to each nation from the bench, as opposed to the 12 available in previous tournaments, which should allow better load-management for teams playing a lot of games during already congested seasons.

The announcement also confirmed that nations are allowed 11 members of staff on the bench during games, one of which must be the team doctor.

IFAB has also made the initially short-term decision to allow five substitutions to be made each game permanent in their latest amendments to the Laws of the Game. Like the option to allow 15 players on the bench for a game, the option to allow five substitutes is up to the discretion of the competition organiser. FIFA hasn’t announced that five substitutions will be allowed per team during the 2022 World Cup.

The length of the release list of players announced before the final squad is chosen has also been increased from 35 to 55 players for this year’s World Cup.

What Does This Mean for England?

Gareth Southgate, among other coaches, has come out to support the ruling to increase the size of match-day squads for the World Cup. Southgate had to axe three players before each match day during Euro 2020, which he said had an effect on the morale of the squad.

The release list of 55 players will have to be submitted by Southgate by 13 November 2022, which is the last round of Premier League games until Boxing Day.

England’s first game of the World Cup is at 1pm on November 21 against Iran.