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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Fifa scraps subs rule
Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Fifa has announced that the substitutions rule limiting clubs to only six changes per game will only apply to international friendlies.

Fifa had limited the number after president Sepp Blatter criticised mass changes in international friendlies.

The ruling was passed at a Fifa meeting on 23 February and began on 1 July.

But the rule caused the Fulham-Watford friendly on Saturday to be abandoned at half-time with the referee walking out after the teams put on 27 replacements.

The game was eventually completed as an exhibition match with a linesman taking over as referee, but the FA was suitably concerned to take the matter up with the game's governing body.

After two days of negotiations, the FA has managed to persuade Fifa president Blatter that unlimited substitutions are an essential component of any pre-season campaign.

I am delighted that Fifa has listened to our concerns
FA chief executive Mark Palios

"The Football Association are delighted to announce that Fifa has agreed to the FA's proposal," said a statement released on the FA's website.

"The FA believed it was in the interests of all parties that clubs be able to use as many substitutes as necessary in pre-season preparation matches.

"As a result, from this point forward, clubs will once again be permitted to make an unlimited number of substitutions in friendlies."

FA chief executive Mark Palios added: "I am delighted that Fifa has listened to our concerns and clarified the situation."

The issue will be formally resolved by the International Football Association Board in September.

Fifa limits substitutions
28 Feb 04  |  Football
Eriksson warns Fifa
19 Feb 04  |  England

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