Following the unfortunate injury to Italy’s Thiago Motta in the 56th minute of the final of Euro 2012 (They lost 0-4 to Spain) which resulted in Italy finishing the game with ten (10) men after using up their three (3) substitutions, I got thinking and felt there has to be a better way of addressing such situations and Eureka! I have got the solution.
I call it the Equity Substitution Rule (ESR) and it is quite simple as I will now explain. The idea is this:
1. The standard rule of three (3) substitutions per team shall still remain in place for Football.
2. However, in a situation where a team has made all of its three (3) substitutions but one or more of its players get injured and cannot complete the game, the rule changes to allow that/those injured player(s) be replaced by (a) substitute(s). To make the whole arrangement equitable, the opposing team will also be allowed to bring-on an equal number of substitutes outside of the statutory three (3) should it choose to do so.
3. To prevent abuse of this rule, FIFA/Regional Federation/Confederation doctors must get a detailed report of the nature of injury (a) player(s) suffered during the game and have the right to examine the player(s) should they choose to do so after the game has ended.
4. Any team found to be abusing the rule would automatically miss the next tournament as a result.
This rule is very simple, easy to understand and fair to all parties involved. Imagine if this rule had been in place before yesterday’s final, Italy would have been allowed replace Thiago Motta after his injury and Spain would have had the right to bring-on a fourth substitute. The game would not have totally ended as a contest because of the unfortunate injury of a player.
I am ready to explain and defend this rule at FIFA should the need arise but I think it makes perfect sense as it is.