Law 3 - Number of Players
- A match shall be played by two teams, each consisting of
not more than eleven players, one of whom shall be the
- Substitutes may be used in any match played under the
rules of an official competition under the jurisdiction
of FIFA, confederations or National Associations, subject
to the following conditions:
- that the authority of the international
association(s) or National Association(s)
concerned has been obtained.
- that, subject to the restriction contained in
the following paragraph (c), the rules of a
competition shall state how many, if any,
substitutes may be nominated and how many of
those nominated may be used
- that a team shall not be permitted to use more
than two substitutes in any match who must be
chosen from not more than five players whose
names may (subject to the rules of the
competition) be required to be given to the
referee prior to the commencement of the match.
- Substitutes may be used in any other match, provided
that the two teams concerned reach agreement on a maximum
number, not exceeding five, and that the terms of such
agreement are intimated to the referee, before the match.
If the referee is not infomed, or if the teams fail to
reach agreement, no more than two substitutes shall be
permitted. In all cases the substitutes must be chosen
from not more than five players whose names may be
required to be given to the referee prior to the
commencement of the match.
- Any of the other players may change places with the
goalkeeper, provided that the referee is infomed before
the change is made, and provided also that the change is
made during a stoppage of the game.
- When a goalkeeper or any other player is to be replaced
by a substitute, the following conditions shall be
- The referee shall be infomed of the proposed
substitution, before it is made.
- The substitute shall not enter the field of play
until the player he is replacing has left, and
then only after having received a signal from the
- He shall enter the field during a stoppage in
the game, and at the half-way line.
- A player who has been replaced shall not take
any further part in the game.
- A substitute shall be subject to the authority
and jurisdiction of the referee whether called
upon to play or not.
- The substitution is completed when the
substitute enters the field of play, from which
moment he becomes a player and the player whom he
is replacing ceases to be a player.
- Play shall not be stopped for an infringement of
paragraph 4. The players concerned shall be
cautioned immediately the ball goes out of play.
- If a substitute enters the field of play without
the authority of the referee, play shall be
stopped. The substitute shall be cautioned and
removed from the field or sent off according to
the circumstances. The game shall be restarted by .
- For any other infringement of this Law, the
player concerned shall be cautioned, and if the
game is stopped by the referee to administer the
caution, it shall be restarted by an IFK, to be
taken by a player of the opposing team from the
place where the ball was when play was stopped,
subject to the overriding conditions imposed in
- If a competition's rules require the names of
substitutes to be given to the referee prior to
the commencement of the match, then failure to do
so will mean that no substitutes can be
Decisions of the International F.A. Board
- The minimum number of players in a team is left to the
discretion of the National Associations.
- The Board is of the opinion that a match should not be
considered valid if there are fewer than seven players in
either of the teams.
- A player who has been ordered off before play begins may
only be replaced by one of the named substitutes. The
kick-off must not be delayed to allow the substitute to
join the team.
A player who has been ordered off after play has
started may not be replaced.
A named substitute who has been ordered off, either
before or after play has started, may not be replaced.
(This decision only relates to the players who are
ordered off under Law 12. It does not apply to players
who have infringed Law 4.)
[Rules.] [Law 2:
The Ball.] [Law 4: The Players'