Premier League clubs in the minority
The five substitutes rule was introduced in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic in March of 2020, in order to combat fatigue and potentially long-Covid, but has proved a hit and, as of yet, not been removed.
The German football federation were the first to announce that the top tier of German football, the Bundesliga, would maintain the five substitutes rule ahead of the 2021-22 season.
Subsequently, five substitutes have been allowed in the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Champions League in 2020-21, as well as several other major leagues.
The biggest surprise was the failure of the Premier League to follow suit, reverting back to three substitutes for the campaign, and maintaining their stance despite pleas from the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola to return to five for the purposes of player safety.
“All around the world it’s five substitutions but here we believe we’re more special. We don’t protect the players.”
Pep Guardiola says he spoke to Jurgen Klopp at the end of the game about the need for five subs, calling the current situation ‘a disaster’. pic.twitter.com/rPgvwplpud
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 8, 2020
That could be set to change, however.
Added pressure to fall in line
Now, as per Times Sport correspondent Martyn Ziegler, the five substitutions rule in football is set to become a permanent one across the sport. As per Ziegler, the idea was:
“Proposed at International FA Board panel meeting today and strongly supported.”
EXCL: Five substitutions in football set to become permanent – proposed at International FA Board panel meeting today and strongly supported. Will put renewed pressure on Premier League to follow the rest of football from next season. Story on @TimesSport shortly.
— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) October 27, 2021
This will put added pressure on Premier League sides, who will know that they would be in a minority should they persist with three subs, while actively harming their chances of having fully fit players when it comes to crunch European ties.
The argument that the added options harm smaller clubs with smaller squads is valid, but it seems as though it will ultimately not matter.
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This article was edited by Conor Laird.