Following Bafana Bafana stunning 1-0 win over Spain, there has been hot debate over whether the classification of the game would change due to Spain making seven substitutes, instead of the six allocated.
Victor Valdes suffered an injury after coming on to replace first-half goalkeeper Iker Casillas, and his injury came after the defending world champions had already made their allowed six substitutes.
The Laws of the Game indicate that in national "A" team matches, up to a maximum of six substitutes may be used.
The main concern with the decision is that Bafana could lose the ranking points that they would be due, and it would be a real loss considering the opponents that they overcame.
Unfortunately, in a circular sent out by FIFA in October 2012, clearly indicates that substitutions form part of the main criteria for ranking.
Part of the statement reads, "Criteria for an international friendly to be included in the list used for the calculation of the ranking:
• Observance of the Laws of the Game as issued by IFAB and published by FIFA.
• In accordance with the FIFA Statutes, the main referee and both assistants must be listed on the current FIFA list of international referees.
• It is not compulsory that the fourth official be included on the FIFA list of international referees but if a non-FIFA listed fourth official is required to replace the referee or assistant during an international "A" match, this match will not be included on FIFA's list of matches for the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
• The referee and assistant referees shall be from a neutral country unless otherwise previously agreed by the members concerned.
• Only six substitutions per team can be made during the match.
Matches can be retrospectively removed from the list of matches used to calculate the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking if the Laws of the Game have not been observed."
The rule change, setting the limit of six substitutes for international friendlies, was changed at the 2004 annual general meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the same meeting where the rule for cautioning a player for removing a shirt was passed.
As reported by Soccer-Laduma, Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque revealed that they had requested the chance to make an extra substitution at the referee table, and that a decision was made in terms of fair play.
It remains to be seen whether the fact that it goes against the Laws of the Game as well as the criteria for ranking will result in Bafana losing their points for the win, or whether common sense in the matter will prevail.
What are your thoughts on the issue?
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