UEFA has announced an increase in squad lists for Euro 2020 from 23 players to 26 to "mitigate the risks of teams facing a shortage of available players" amid the continued threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
The European Championship is due to be held between June and July this summer after being pushed back a year due to the Covid-19 outbreak, with 11 different cities set to host fixtures over the course of the tournament.
With most games across all major leagues at club level still currently being played behind closed doors, UEFA has taken the decision to allow all competing countries the chance to select three extra players for the Euros in case of any further outbreaks of the virus.
What's been said?
An official statement from European football's main governing body reads: "To mitigate the risks of teams facing a shortage of available players for certain matches due to possible positive Covid-19 tests results and subsequent quarantine measures ordered by competent authorities, it has been decided to exceptionally increase the player list for all participating teams to 26 players.
"However, 23 players shall remain the maximum number permitted on the match sheet for each individual match (in accordance with Law 3 of the IFAB Laws of the Game permitting a maximum of 12 substitutes to be named for A-national team matches), including three goalkeepers."
What other regulations have been announced?
UEFA has also outlined a new "unlimited replacements" initiative that will allow the 24 participating nations to switch out any players from their final squads that are struck down with injury or illness before the competition kicks off.
Goalkeepers can be replaced before the start of each match under the new regulations, as the statement adds: "Once the player list has been submitted on June 1, 2021, the current regulations allow unlimited replacements on the player list in case of serious injury or illness before the first match, provided that the replacements are medically certified.
"For the sake of clarity, players who have tested positive for Covid-19 or who have been declared as “close contacts” of a positive Covid-19 tested person – and therefore put in isolation - by way of an authorities’ decision are considered cases of serious illness and can therefore be replaced before the first match with the approval of the UEFA administration.
"The new regulations will now also allow goalkeepers to be replaced before each match during the tournament in case of physical incapacity even if one or two goalkeepers from the player list are still available
"To ensure the integrity of the competition, a player who has been replaced on the player list cannot be readmitted to the list."
When does Euro 2020 start?
The opening game of Euro 2020 will see Turkey take on Italy in Rome on June 11, with the group stage then set to run through to June 23.
The round of 16 is scheduled to begin on June 26 and the eventual finalists will compete for the trophy at Wembley on July 11.
By James Westwood
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