UEFA said on Tuesday it would allow enlarged 26-player squads at Euro 2020, responding to a request from coaches who feared losing players due to the coronavirus.
The European football governing body said it had agreed to the 23-player increase “to mitigate the risks of teams facing a shortage of players available for certain matches due to possible positive Covid-19 test results and subsequent quarantine measures ”.
France coach Didier Deschamps and Belgium coach Roberto Martinez were among those calling for change while England manager Gareth Southgate opposed it.
The teams of the day will still be limited to 23 players.
UEFA has clarified that the current regulations which allow coaches to change teams after the June 1 deadline until their first match in the event of “serious injury or illness” will include players whose Covid-19 is positive or who are reported as “close contacts” of a person who tested positive for Covid-19.
The new regulations will also allow goalkeepers to be replaced before each match during the tournament in the event of physical disability even if one or two goalkeepers from the list of players are still available.
A player who has been replaced on the list of players will not subsequently be allowed to return to the competition.
UEFA had already decided that teams would be allowed to make up to five substitutions in delayed Euro 2020 matches instead of the usual three, in accordance with the rules in force in many club competitions.
National teams have nominated 23-man squads to the World Cup and European Championship since the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Euro 2020 was postponed last year due to the pandemic, but is expected to take place in locations across the continent from June 11 to July 11.
© 2021 AFP