The effect of an additional substitution in association footballevidence from the Italian Serie A

  1. Varela-Quintana, Carlos 1
  2. del Corral Cuervo, Julio 2
  3. Prieto-Rodriguez, Juan 1
  1. 1 Universidad de Oviedo

    Universidad de Oviedo

    Oviedo, España


  2. 2 Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

    Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

    Ciudad Real, España


Revista de psicología del deporte

ISSN: 1132-239X 1988-5636

Year of publication: 2016

Issue Title: Economía, gestión y márketing en organizaciones deportivas

Volume: 25

Issue: 1

Pages: 101-105

Type: Article

More publications in: Revista de psicología del deporte


The substitution of players during a match has been one of the most significant changes in the Laws of the Game of the association football. FIFA regulated its application in the 1970 World Cup by establishing two replacements, which were expanded to three in 1995. The experimental introduction in 2016 of a fourth replacement during the extra time of several tournaments (the Olympic Games, the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup) as a previous step to a possible application in next 2018 World Cup makes advisable to study how coaches reacted to an additional substitution in past situations. The present research examines coaches’ behavior before and after the FIFA regulatory reform in 1995 that authorized the third replacement. For this, substitutions made in the Italian Serie A during the seasons 1994-95 and 1995-96 are analyzed. Our hypothesis is that teams made more physiological substitutions than tactical ones, which would reflect in a higher proportion of neutral substitutions (replacements of players who belong to the same positions). The results from the estimated discrete choice models found evidence of a change in the coaches’ behavior giving preference to neutral replacements over tactical substitutions, probably to maintain the game intensity and prevent injuries.

Bibliographic References

  • Bradley, P. S., Sheldon, W., Wooster, B., Olsen, P., Boanas, P. and Krustrup, P. (2009). Highintensity running in English FA Premier League soccer matches. Journal of Sports Sciences, 27(2), 159–168.
  • del Corral, J., Pestana-Barros, C. and Prieto-Rodriguez, J. (2008). The determinants of soccer player substitutions: A survival analysis of the Spanish soccer league. Journal of Sports Economics, 9(2), 160–172.
  • Di Salvo, V., Baron, R., Tschan, H., Calderon Montero, F. J., Bachl, N. and Pigozzi, F. (2007). Performance characteristics according to playing position in elite soccer. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 28(3), 222-227.
  • Garicano, L., Palacios-Huerta, I. and Prendergast, C. (2005). Favoritism under social pressure. Review of Economics and Statistics, 87(2), 208-216.
  • Lago-Peñas, C., Rey, E., Lago-Ballesteros, J., Casais, L. and Domínguez, E. (2009). Analysis of work-rate in soccer according to playing positions. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 9(2), 218-227.
  • Mohr, M., Krustrup, P. and Bangsbo, J. (2003). Match performance of high-standard soccer players with special reference to development of fatigue. Journal of Sports Sciences, 21(7), 519–528.
  • Myers, B.R. (2012). A proposed decision rule for the timing of soccer substitutions. Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, 8(1), 1-24.
  • Nevill, A. M., Balmer, N. J. and Williams, A. M. (2002). The influence of crowd noise and experience upon refereeing decisions in football. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 3(4), 261-272.
  • Nüesch, S. and Haas, H. (2012). Empirical Evidence on the “Never Change a Winning Team” Heuristic. Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, 232(3), 247-257.
  • Reilly, T., Drust, B. and Clarke, N. (2008). Muscle fatigue during football match-play. Sports Medicine, 38(5), 357-367.
  • Rey, E., Lago-Ballesteros, J. and Padrón-Cabo, A. (2015). Timing and tactical analysis of player substitutions in the UEFA Champions League. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 15(3), 840-850.
  • Sampedro Molinuevo, J. and Prieto Bermejo, J. (2012). El efecto de marcar primero y la ventaja de jugar en casa en la liga de fútbol y en la liga de fútbol sala de España. Revista de Psicología del Deporte, 21(2), 301-308.
  • Schroffel, J. L. and Magee, C. S. P. (2012). Own-race bias among NBA coaches. Journal of Sports Economics, 13(2), 130-151.
  • Pollard, R. (2006). Worldwide regional variations in home advantage in association football. Journal of Sports Sciences, 24(3), 231-240.
  • Waters, A. and Lovell, G. (2002). An examination of the homefield advantage in a professional English soccer team from a psychological standpoint. Football Studies, 5(1), 46-59.