World football governing body, FIFA has approved 26-man squads for this year’s World Cup in Qatar, increasing the maximum squad size by three for the November 21-December 18 tournaments.
FIFA explained that the decision to change the size of the squads for the World Cup was made because of the unusual timing of the competition, which is set to begin in November 21.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also played a role in the decision to expand the teams.
A statement from FIFA read: “Given the need to retain additional flexibility due to the unique timing of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in the global calendar, as well as the broader context of the disruptive effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on squads before and during tournaments, the Bureau has decided the following:
“The maximum number of players on the release list has been increased from 35 to 55.
“The number of players to be included on the final list has been increased to at least 23 and a maximum of 26.
“The final matchday at club level for the 23 to 26 players nominated on the final list will be 13 November 2022.
“No more than 26 people (up to 15 substitutes and 11 team officials – one of these officials must be the team doctor) will be allowed to sit on the team bench.”
This comes a week after football’s rules body IFAB approved the permanent use of five substitutes for all top-level matches and said teams can now name 15 substitutes on a team sheet instead of 12.