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A-League change to develop young players

A-League clubs will be able to have extended benches this season in a move to encourage greater match day opportunities for young players.

An amendment to the competition regulations allows Australian clubs to have six substitutes - including one goalkeeper - provided at least two players across the match day squad are eligible to be called up by Australia and were born on or after January 1, 1996.

Clubs can also have the advantage of listing seven substitutes, including one goalkeeper, provided they have three eligible under-23 players on the match day starting list.

The same rules apply to Wellington Phoenix, except those under-23 players can be eligible for either Australia or New Zealand national teams.

"It is envisaged that this initiative will provide clubs with the opportunity to include more young players in the match day squad and, by extending the number of players on the bench, will also allow the coaching staff more options on game day," said Football Federation Australia head of leagues Greg O'Rourke.

'We expect to see teams both home and away take advantage of this change in policy from round one.

"The ability to get more game time for our younger players is critical to their development both as A-League players and also for national team selection."