Clubs will be able to name five reserves instead of four next term.
A-League coaches will find themselves with more options from the bench next season after the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) announced the number of permitted substitutes is to increase.
Traditionally clubs have been restricted to selecting just four reserves but that will rise to five in 2013/14, with the FFA making the change in order to afford greater tactical flexibility during games following years of campaigning by coaches
Although actual substitutions will remain at three, in line with the rest of the world, the Federation have finally agreed to heed their calls following discussions with club owners and believes the adjustment will be beneficial to younger squad players, who might not necessarily be physically able to last 90 minutes.
“Having an additional substitute will give coaches greater tactical options on match days which should translate to an even more exciting and closely fought Hyundai A-league season for fans,” an FFA spokesperson told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Central Coast Mariners chief Graham Arnold praised the decision but feels the FFA can still take the expansion one step further.
“Fantastic,” he enthused. “Finally it gives us more of an opportunity to change tactics during a game with more options.
“I think it should be away from home, you should have 16 and at home games you can have 18. Everyone has the same amount of home games so it’s not unfair and I understand the costs involved.”