FIFA and The International Football Association Board (The IFAB) will meet on Wednesday to make a final decision on whether five substitutes should be allowed next season, sources have revealed to ESPN.
A temporary amendment to the Laws of the Game to allow five substitutes was approved in May, which covered competitions scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.
Last week, FIFA and The IFAB held "productive discussions" over a possible extension but were unable to reach a decision due to "the complexity and importance of the issue." Now they will sit down again on Wednesday via video conference to try and reach an agreement, which is expected to see the rule remain in place for the 2020-21 European seasons, and other competitions which complete in 2021.
FIFA had requested the special measure to take into account player welfare in a condensed schedule caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The law change was optional, but was adopted by all major European leagues as they rushed through the remaining games of the 2019-20 season over the summer.
The temporary switch to five subs has been criticised for favouring bigger teams, who tend to have stronger squads and more options from an expanded substitutes' bench. While the Premier League voted it through for the remainder of this season, there was opposition from Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Sheffield United and West Ham United.
Next season's schedule will also be badly affected by the coronavirus, with most top leagues not expected to start until mid-September and the Champions League group stage forced to begin almost a month later than planned, and played over six consecutive domestic midweeks.
There is added pressure from the international calendar, with FIFA granting UEFA two additional dates, meaning most nations are set to play eight matches in the two international breaks in October and November. That, combined with a truncated domestic calendar ahead of the rescheduled Euro 2020 next summer, will put added pressure on the demands of elite players.