As major European football leagues look to resume their seasons which had come to a halt due to the coronavirus, FIFA has said that health comes first and football should only be played if it is completely safe to do so.
A FIFA spokesperson told ANI that each country has a different set of health guidelines and football should only be resumed if the government in that country is fine with going ahead with the sport.
"What FIFA is doing now, we are reiterating the message that health comes first, the countries should only play football if their government and authorities believe that it is safe to do so," a FIFA spokesperson told ANI.
"In each country, there are different rules that need to be followed, for the time being, we are just saying that health comes first and we encourage everyone to follow the instructions of health authorities in each country," the spokesperson added.
On May 7, the German Football Association had confirmed that domestic competition Bundesliga will resume its season from May 16. Six games will be taking place on May 16, with Borussia Dortmund also slated to take on Schalke. The final matchday of the 2019-20 campaign is scheduled for the weekend of June 27-28.
This decision was taken by the German Football Association as it got the green light from the German government to go ahead with resuming Bundesliga.
However, the tournament has been asked to follow the coronavirus protocols, and it will see stadiums introduce biological controls similar to those required by medical facilities. The matches will be held without fans and under strict safety conditions, including frequent testing of players, coaches, referees, and support staff.
Stadiums will be allowed to have a maximum of 330 people, including security, club employees, teams, and staff. The re-opening plan will also see the players being kept in quarantine, in an isolated training camp or similar, for the remainder of the season.
Spain, Italy, and the UK are also looking to kickstart their suspended domestic football competitions. It is being speculated that the Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A will resume their respective seasons in June this year.
However to make things a little easier for teams when football resumes, the International Football Association Board (The IFAB), in the light of coronavirus pandemic, agreed to introduce a temporary amendment, allowing for a maximum of five substitutes to be made per team.
"For competitions which have either started or are intended to start, but are scheduled to be completed by 31 December 2020, the IFAB has approved FIFA's proposal to introduce a temporary amendment to Law 3 - The Players, which will allow for a maximum of five substitutes to be made per team. However, to avoid disruption to the game, each team will only have three opportunities to make substitutions; substitutions may also be made at half-time," the FIFA said in a statement.
The temporary change in the rules has been brought in to protect players' fitness when competitions come back after football across the world was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision on whether to apply this temporary amendment will remain at the discretion of each individual competition organiser, while The IFAB and FIFA will determine at a later stage whether this temporary amendment would need to be extended further.
Currently, all sporting action across the world has come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. The domestic football competitions in France and the Netherlands have already been called off due to COVID-19.
As per CNN, more than 3.9 million cases of the novel coronavirus have been recorded worldwide, including at least 274,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had termed coronavirus as a pandemic on March 11.