Tokyo Olympics: IOC permits sides to have alternate players in squad
The Tokyo Olympics gets underway from July 23, as the Indian contingent is all geared up. Meanwhile, keeping in mind the pandemic's challenges and uncertainty, the International Olympic Committee has permitted the sides to have alternate players.
The date to the Tokyo Olympics draws near, as the Indian contingent is looking forward to its best-ever performance. Meanwhile, the global event is being held amidst the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, as challenges and uncertainty surrounding the health of the athletes continue to remain a concern.
Consequently, the International Olympic Committee has asserted that all the Tokyo-bound athletes would be entirely vaccinated before departure. However, just in case things do not go haywire, it has also allowed the sides to have alternate players for team sports "to provide flexibility for team selections in several sports."
"Previously, 'alternate' replacements were available in the sports of football, handball, hockey, rugby and water polo; however, these were available only as permanent replacements for the Olympic squads. Now each National Olympic Committee (NOC) will be able to use these athletes in each match," the IOC announced in a statement.
"This will not increase the number of athletes on site in Japan, but will give more flexibility to select within the wider squads, recognising the unique situation for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and giving NOCs maximum flexibility in choosing match squads," it added.
As for football, it was informed by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association that a total of 22 players would be in the squad for the event, which includes four alternate players. However, only 18 would remain on the starting list, i.e. playing XI and reserve bench.
It happens to be a significant change, especially in football for the Olympics. Previously, the entire squad used to be 18-members strong, while four alternate players were on the sidelines and could come in to replace an injured player, and the replaced player cannot return.
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