Law 3 – the number of players

Number of Players

A match is played by two teams, each consisting of not more than eleven players, one of whom is the goalkeeper. A match may not start if either team consists of fewer than seven players.

Number of substitutions

Official competitions

Up to a maximum of three substitutes may be used in any match played in an official competition organised under the auspices of FIFA, the confederations or the member associations.

The rules of the competition must state how many substitutes may be nominated, from three up to a maximum of seven.

Other matches

In national “A” team matches, up to a maximum of six substitutes may be used.

In all other matches, a greater number of substitutes may be used provided that:

  • the teams concerned reach agreement on a maximum number
  • the referee is informed before the match

If the referee is not informed, or if no agreement is reached before the match, no more than six substitutes are allowed.