When the ninth A-League season begins in mid-October, managers will have a new luxury. No, the league isn't replacing the ubiquitous plastic chairs along the touchline - FFA have granted clubs the ability to dress five substitutes instead of just four. While many other leagues around the world give six spots on the bench (plus a goalkeeper), A-League managers will likely be thrilled to have the extra option.
An FFA spokesman explained in a league press release:
"Having an additional substitute will give coaches greater tactical options on match days which should translate to an even more exciting and closely fought Hyundai A-League season for fans."
Interestingly, the press release also cites the inability of young players to last 90 minutes on a regular basis. Accordingly, the rule change gives managers a 25% increase in available options so that clubs can better develop youngsters. That explanation seems a bit of a stretch, but to be fair, as the A-League provides an increasing number of exciting prospects to sell on to Europe and Asia, doing something to get more young players in game day rosters seems a reasonable move.