THE five substitutes rule brought in after lockdown could still be in place for Oxford United's games next season.

It was among a series of measures implemented to help ease the strain on squads returning to action after a lengthy spell of inactivity.

With their Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final second leg against Portsmouth going to extra time, United went on to use six substitutes for the first time last week.

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Now IFAB (the International Football Association Board) which determines the sport's rules globally has held a review and extended it as an option until July 31 2021.

It includes the provision that sides cannot stop the game more than three times to make changes.

The theory is the player welfare arguments may still stand if next season's fixtures have to be condensed due to a late start.

It will then be up to individual competitions to decided on whether to adopt the measure.