Football at the 2016 Olympics will kickstart a new revolution in the way knockout tournaments are played around the world.
On March 18, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) — the organisation which is responsible for governing the Laws of the Game — approved trials of an extra substitute to be used in the knockout stages of the Rio Olympics.
Aside from the Rio Games, the law will also apply at other Fifa-sanctioned tournaments including the Fifa Club World Cup.
A Fifa statement when announcing the trial read: “Following the recent decision by the IFAB to allow experimentation with a fourth substitution in extra-time, the Fifa executive committee agreed for such experiments to be conducted this year at the Olympic football tournaments, the Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea and the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan.”
The change of rules was also applied to the Copa America Centenario which took place in June. However, with the Copa America format switching to direct penalties in the event of a drawn quarterfinal and semifinal (no extra-time) with the 2015 edition, only the final match could have seen a fourth substitute being used. The final between Chile and Argentina did go into extra-time and penalties, but neither of the teams opted to use a fourth substitute.
This leaves the men’s and women’s football events at the upcoming Rio Olympics as the next opportunity for testing the new rule, followed by the FA Cup which recently announced the trial of the law from the quarterfinals and later.
Here are the details of the men’s and women’s football events at the Rio Olympics: