Guidelines for trials at U21 EURO in Poland

Experiments to be conducted at the U21 EURO finals in Poland will allow teams to make a fourth substitution in extra time and enable officials to show yellow and red cards to non-playing staff.

Fourth substitution in extra time experiment to take place during UEFA U21's in Poland
Fourth substitution in extra time experiment to take place during UEFA U21's in Poland ©Actionphoto

Two experiments, sanctioned by football's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), will be conducted at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in Poland.

Coaches will have the opportunity to make a fourth substitution in extra time, while referees will be able to show yellow and red cards to non-playing staff in the technical area. The decision to conduct the two trials was taken by the UEFA Executive Committee in Cardiff on 1 June.

Fourth substitution

Under the guidelines of the trial, a fourth substitution is permitted if a match goes to extra time. The fourth substitution can be made whether or not the team has already used the maximum number of substitutes permitted.

IFAB decided to analyse the impact that the use of a fourth substitution in extra time would have on the match and its outcome following a number of requests from the footballing community.

Football's lawmakers received the results from a limited pre-study survey carried out by FIFPro, which suggested that allowing fourth substitutions would be favoured by players, coaches and football administrators. Nearly 85% of the individuals consulted were in favour of fourth substitutions.

To permit the study to take place, the IFAB required detailed statistics from previous competitions with extra time over the last four years, while there was also input from stakeholders, such as coaches and medical staff.

Yellow/red cards for non-playing staff

The use of yellow/red cards for non-playing staff aims to clarify when a player or official is officially cautioned or is dismissed from the technical area and is part of the IFAB's 'Play Fair' initiative. The referee is within his rights to stop play in order to show a yellow or red card to the offending party.

Failure to cooperate with a match official, such as ignoring a request from a fourth official, or entering the field of play in a non-confrontational manner, could lead to a warning from the referee or the fourth official to the guilty party.

A yellow card could be shown for gestures that show a clear lack of respect for the match officials, such as sarcastic clapping. Throwing or kicking drinks bottles, gesturing for a yellow or red card to be shown and deliberately entering the technical area of the opposition team are among the offences that could lead to non-playing staff being cautioned.

Offences that could lead to a red card being shown to non-playing staff include: physical or aggressive behaviour towards a member of the opposition team or a match official; using offensive, insulting or abusive language; confronting a match official on the field of play; or deliberately throwing or kicking an object on to the field of play.

Future tournaments

The UEFA Executive Committee decided in Cardiff that both trials will be continued at a further three national team tournaments in 2017: UEFA Women's EURO 2017 in the Netherlands; the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Georgia and UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, which is taking place in Northern Ireland.