The Premier League is facing pressure to make a permanent change to five substitutions after the game’s lawmakers ruled in favour of the move.
All top European leagues, along with UEFA competitions the Champions League and Europa League, adopted the increase during the pandemic-hit 2019-20 season to help with player welfare.
Only the Premier League reverted back to three for the following season despite concerns raised by Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp.
As recently as September saw the debate reignited as Guardiola argued: “That would be the best [five substitutions] I’m not here to change anything for this country. All around the world we have five subs, we have three.”
“This is ridiculous. This is why there are injuries. Every three days a game, without any prep, no pre-season. Maybe one day the big bosses will explain why?”
Concussion substitutes were also introduced in February to provide another option for a change should a club need it following head injuries.
The rule states that a club can use the change should the affected player not be able to carry on if there are clear symptoms of concussion, or the video provides clear evidence of concussion.
“Would I have liked to have seen five subs? One hundred per cent,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in 2020.
“And I don’t understand, and cannot believe that the vote went against, because we have to look after the players; we have to think about the players. This season is the most demanding season of all.”
Although the change has been made by the International FA Board (IFAB), leagues decide to adopt the rule locally. Wednesday’s ruling will ramp up the pressure on the Premier League to follow the continent’s lead.
After the initial ruling, IFAB extended beyond the pandemic-hit seasons to cover the Qatar 2022 World Cup – which sits in the middle of the European football schedule.
The Champions League from 2024 will see group games increase from six to 10 during the first four months of the season.Internet Explorer Channel Network