Bafana coach Gordon Igesund confirmed at the post-match press conference that the two teams agreed on a maximum number of six subs before the start of the match, which is in line with Fifa’s Laws of the Game.
Igesund said: “We were told in the meeting before the game started that the maximum was six changes. This is an international friendly match – I don't think the rules needed to be changed.”
Spain, however, made their seventh substitution in the 80th minute when Victor Valdes went down injured and he was replaced by Pepe Reina in goal.
According to Fifa’s Laws of the Game, in Category A matches – same as Bafana’s friendly against Spain – up to a maximum of six substitutes may be used.
In official competitions, up to a maximum of three substitutes may be used in any match played in an official competition organised under the auspices of Fifa, the confederations or the member associations.
In all other matches, a greater number of substitutes may be used provided that:
• The teams concerned reach an agreement on a maximum number.
• The referee is informed before the match.
• If the referee is not informed, or if no agreement is reached before the match, no more than six substitutes are allowed.
If Bafana’s match is downgraded to a practice match, Fifa’s ranking points may not be credited in favour of South Africa and the players who took part will not earn caps.
In the end, this match may have lost its grading – from a Fifa friendly to a practice match.
However, we are at this stage awaiting confirmation from Safa and Fifa.