FIFA has increased the maximum squad size for the November 21–December 18 competition by three, allowing nations to choose up to 26 players for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“The number of players to be included on the final list has been increased to at least 23 and a maximum of 26,” FIFA said in a statement.
The decision to increase squad sizes was decided, according to the organization that governs world football, “given the need to retain additional flexibility due to the unique timing” of this year’s competition, which will break the European club season.
FIFA also took into account the “broader context of the disruptive effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on squads before and during tournaments.”
Similar modifications were made by UEFA for Euro 2020 last year in response to coaches’ requests because they were concerned about losing players to the coronavirus.
Since the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, national teams have selected 23-player squads for both the World Cup and the European Championship.
Prior to that, each squad for international competitions was limited to 22 players.
Football’s governing body, IFAB, sanctioned the usage of five substitutions permanently for all matches at the highest level last week. Additionally, teams can now list 15 substitutes instead of 12 on a team sheet.
“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,” during World Cup games, FIFA said Thursday.