Are rolling substitutions the future for football?

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Eastbourne will witness a footballing first this weekend as rolling substitutions are to be trialled in the Eastbourne Cup competitions.

It will represent an opportunity to study the effect of a proposed change to the laws of the game.

The Football Association invited all adult 11-a-side Leagues and District Associations, at grass roots level, to use for a trial period.

Following a vote in favour at the Eastbourne AGM in July, the Eastbourne FA, for both their Vice-President’s and Junior Cup Competitions, are one of only a few FA members in the local area that decided to give it go.

Clubs can now use up to five substitutes and, when substituted, that player then becomes a substitute himself and allowed to return to the match later under the normal rules.

Mark Potter of the Eastbourne FA said, “We think it is worth go. It was a unanimous vote and we are interested to see what feedback and reaction we get from it.

“It has been used in youth football for sometime now and it seems to work well so why not trial it in the adult mathces?

“It will hopefully make it easier for teams with injuries and also to keep the whole squad involved at all times.

“The reaction so far has been very positive and the main idea behind it is to boost participation at grassroots level.”

Nick Levett, National Development manager for youth and mini Soccer at the English FA described the announcement as a real step forward for the grassroots game.

He said, “After two years of work we have finally been granted to look at substitutions in grassroots football.”

“I was told two years ago ‘you’ve got more chance of scoring the winning goal in the Champions League final than changing this rule’. Well, I just scored the winner.

“This is a real step forward for the grassroots game. A massive step to support increasing participation.”