UEFA relaxes rules for January signings

Philippe Coutinho

UEFA has changed its rules for player registrations, allowing up to three January signings to play for their new clubs in the Champions League and Europa League.

The administrative body confirmed several changes to their regulations for Europe’s premier competitions, which will be applied from the start of next season.

The most significant of these will see January signings eligible to play for their new clubs.

“Regarding the registration of players after a group stage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, a club may register three new eligible players without any restrictions,” UEFA said.

Had this rule been in place at the start of the season, the likes of Philippe Coutinho would have been allowed to play for Barcelona in the Champions League, while new Arsenal signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could have turned out in the Europa League.

UEFA also confirmed that from next season, clubs reaching the finals of the Champions League final, Europa League final or Super Cup would be able to use a 23-player squad instead of 18.

“This will allow 12 substitutes (instead of seven) to sit on the bench in these finals – giving clubs and, in particular, coaches more flexibility regarding substitutes, and facilitate their squad management for the most important fixture of the season,” they said.

Also from next season, a fourth substitute listed on the match sheet will be allowed to take part in knockout matches exclusively during extra time.