Olympic football rosters can include 22 players instead of the traditional 18, FIFA said on Friday. However, teams can pick from only 18 players during matches.
Olympic rosters traditionally consist of 18 players and four alternates. The alternates could only be used in case of injury, and once replaced, a player cannot return.
The change means that all 22 players are available to the participating teams. It was implemented because of the challenges the coronavirus pandemic has posed to teams worldwide.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made official a more flexible approach towards the participation of the alternate athletes in the Olympic Football Tournaments Tokyo 2020. As a result, the Participating Member Associations will be entitled to reconstitute their teams ahead of every match,” FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press.
The number of athletes on the start list will therefore remain at 18, but teams will now have the total of 22 players (18 Athletes + 4 Alternate Athletes) to select their team from for every match. The IOC has also remarked that this is an exception for the Tokyo 2020 Games and does not create a precedent for future Olympic Games,” the statement said