Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

It Is High Time to Increase Elite Soccer Substitutions Permanently

Version 1 : Received: 31 August 2020 / Approved: 2 September 2020 / Online: 2 September 2020 (05:27:55 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17197008


The soccer injury rate is distinctly higher during matches than the training sessions. Rules determine how to play, generating specific kinds of fatigue which is associated with the injury incidence. No research has evaluated the impact of potential rule-induced physical demands in soccer or comparing sports. Understanding the differences might be useful for enhancing rules (e.g., safer sport). Therefore, the aims of this study were: a) to described the differences in the rule-induced physical demands of soccer, futsal, basketball, and handball; and b) to evaluate whether soccer rule-induced physical demands are different than the other invasion intermittent team sports, focusing the impact of the substitutions rules. Data were collected from different sports rules (i.e., soccer, futsal, basketball, and handball), and performed hypothetical corrections to equate the other team sports to the soccer (i.e., court dimensions/number of players). The data showed that soccer has higher rule-induced physical demands: lower substitutions, higher dimensions in absolute (eight to 15 times), and relative (four to eight times) values. Hypothetical corrections showed that soccer has remarkably large differences. Therefore, we conclude that soccer has remarkably higher rule-induced physical demands than other team sports, and allowing unlimited substitutions in soccer is a must.


coronavirus; football; rules; sports medicine; prophylaxis



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