One of the changes made when football returned in June after the extended COVID break was a new rule that allowed for nine players on the bench rather than seven and five in-match substitutions rather than three. While previous reporting suggested that the five-subs rule was going to stay for the 2020-21 season, the 20 Premier League clubs rejected it in a vote taken today.
Premier League news: vote for 5 subs was, as predicted, defeated at meeting today and will be 3 subs next season. Also: looking positive for behind-closed-doors matches to be televised but final decision at meeting early next week.— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) September 3, 2020
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, to be honest. Allowing five substitutes was intended to give a little fitness breathing room to clubs that were returning to physical activity after an involuntary period off. However, critics of the rule said that it instead rewarded bigger, richer clubs with deeper teams and a far greater amount of talent in their squads than the teams further down the table. Is it fair, they argued, that Manchester City can bring on the likes of Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden, and David Silva off the bench, when the likes of, say, Aston Villa couldn’t come close to matching that level of talent?
But on the other hand, having the extra subs is a boon if you’re trying to manage exhausted players at the beginning of a season or during a period where there are going to be tons of matches played in a short period of time. Having five subs would definitely benefit a club like Tottenham who could conceivably play nine matches in 21 days.
But it’s back to the old rules for now! What do you think about the extended substitution rules? Will you miss having a larger bench and more subs? Have your say in the comments.