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31
March
2022

Premier League to introduce five substitutes from next season

Premier League clubs have agreed to five substitutes being permitted per match from next season, while the summer transfer window dates have been revealed.

Top-flight clubs voted in favour of the substitution rule change at a shareholder meeting of all 20 Premier League clubs on Thursday.

Five substitutes were originally introduced in May 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the league reverted back to three subs for the 2020/21 season and this campaign.

Previously, teams had voted against the introduction of five substitutes on several occasions in the past two years.

The Premier League have also confirmed the summer transfer window will open on Friday June 10 and will close at 11pm on Thursday September 1.

The league also announced a change to Covid-19 testing, with only symptomatic individuals to be tested from Monday.

A Premier League statement said: “Premier League Shareholders met today and discussed a range of matters.

“Clubs agreed to change the rules relating to substitute players. From next season, clubs will be permitted to use five substitutions, to be made on three occasions during a match, with an additional opportunity at half-time. A total of nine substitutes can be named on the team sheet.

“It was also confirmed that the Summer 2022 Transfer Window will open on 10 June and will close at 23:00 BST on 1 September in line with other European leagues.

“In addition, the Premier League has today updated its remaining COVID-19 measures.

“From 4 April, the League will remove twice-weekly COVID-19 testing of players and staff and move to symptomatic testing only. Other key updates include the removal of the requirement for clinical passports to access previously restricted areas at training grounds and on match days as the Premier League returns to business-as-usual operations.

“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.”

What have managers said about five subs?

In December 2021, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said players were “at the edge” due to the demands of the fixture schedule and absences caused by Covid, and called for five subs.

“We have to put the competition aside and don’t say that Man City has better subs than Burnley or whatever,” said the German. “Yes that’s probably true. But the problem is the intensity for a top-class footballer in England is definitely at the edge.

Jurgen Klopp has once again called on Premier League clubs to back the introduction of five substitutes

“You bring players back after Covid or after an injury, and because of the games we have to play they have to play immediately. Then they are out again because you cannot get them off after 60 minutes because you have to change other things.

“This wonderful game is so wonderful because usually the players on the pitch are in good shape, are well-trained, have recovered and go for it. That’s why we love the game.

“The best league in the world, and the most intense league in the world, is the only league with still three subs. That’s not right. We should change it.”

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers believes that having more substitutes can only be beneficial to player health next season

Man City boss Pep Guardiola and Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel are also both strong advocates of five substitutions.

In December 2020, Guardiola said: “All around the world it’s five substitutions, but here we believe we are more special people.

“We don’t protect the players, and that’s why it’s a disaster. In this calendar, especially. I will demand, if the people allow, we have to come back to five substitutions. If not, it’s difficult to sustain it.”

We take a look at some of the worst performances from substitutes in Premier League history

Meanwhile, Tuchel said in December 2021: “I would love to push for five substitutions because five substitutions were made to protect the players when coronavirus popped up and made life difficult.

“I think the situation is very serious and very challenging so if we decided to keep on playing at least we should have five changes to control the load.”

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel says he is a big supporter of using five substitutes as it can help players returning from a positive coronavirus test

But some – such as Sean Dyche, the Burnley manager – believed allowing five subs disproportionately benefits bigger clubs, such as Liverpool.

“I think it quite obviously favours the big clubs because they can keep more players happy and more players involved by making more changes,” Dyche said in July 2020.

“A lot of football often does. We all had to change the size of our home pitches to make sure they aligned with the big clubs who were in Europe.

Manchester United caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick wants the rule of five substitutes to be reinstated in the Premier League

“We all had to cut the grass the same length. So most things are pushed forward by the big clubs in the division.
“But equally the big clubs are part of what sells the division to the world. They are fantastic clubs in their own right, they have got amazing histories and a lot of prowess in football.

“It could be a slightly calmer situation for managers [of bigger clubs] with players who get slightly disgruntled than if they’re out of the team and out of the squad.”

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