An issue that has been under discussion for some time has now been settled with five substitutes for Premier League clubs agreed to start from the 2022/23 season.
The subs will have to be made over three occasions with half-time an additional occasion. Nine subs can be named on the bench.
Green Light as Five Substitutes for Premier League Clubs Agreed
Initially, the decision to introduce five substitutes in the Premier League and other leagues came in May 2020 when football started after the first lockdown of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. With players contracting the virus and some struggling to recover peak fitness, it was decided that it was medically the right decision to take to protect players. However, when the rule came up for review for the 2020/21 season the vote went against bringing the rule in again. The Premier League was the only major football competition to drop the rule.
One of the main reasons that the rule was abandoned was due to smaller clubs claiming that the rule would give the bigger team an unfair advantage. Whilst it may have been easy to see this as a minor complaint, the reality is that clubs with more financial means have more players and by that definition do potentially have an advantage. Some smaller clubs may still struggle to field five substitutes and it is a rule that may well cause controversy in the season to come starting later in 2022.
No Immediate Change
The current 2021/22 season will still remain with the standard three substitutes apart from in the FA Cup where the decision to permanently install the rule was ratified in October 2021.
Other Covid Related Changes
The Premier League have said in a statement on its website: “The wellbeing of players and staff remains a priority and the Premier League will continue to monitor the national Covid-19 situation and adapt league-wide protocols as required, in line with the latest guidance from public health authorities and medical experts.”
Clinical passports will also be removed as Football returns to more normal operations although the situation with cases rising will continue to be closely monitored. Twice weekly testing of players and staff will also cease and only symptomatic testing will take place from April 4, three days after the April 1st lifting of all restrictions in England.
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