English Premier League clubs will be able to make five substitutions each game from next season after shareholders agreed to change the rules. The substitutions can be made on three occasions during a match, plus at half-time, and a total of nine substitutes can be named on the teamsheet.
Five substitutes were introduced across the game in May 2020 after the shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Clubs then voted against continuing the rule for the compressed 2020-21 season. The Premier League was the only major competition to abandon the rule because some clubs felt it gave those with bigger squads an unfair advantage. A number of managers spoke out against the decision, with Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola both saying the it was partly responsible for a spate of muscular injuries across the top flight. Nothing changed for the 2021-22 season, although five substitutes are allowed in FA Cup matches, and in October football law-makers the International Football Association Board recommended that five substitutions be implemented permanently in the sport. Maheta Molango, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, said on Thursday: “The adoption of this rule is a welcome step forward in what needs to be an ongoing effort to address issues with player fatigue.” At a shareholder meeting of all 20 Premier League clubs, it was also confirmed that this summer’s 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 will remove twice-weekly testing of players and staff from 4 April and move to symptomatic testing only. Other key updates included the removal of the requirement for clinical passports to access previously restricted areas at training grounds and on matchdays, as the Premier League returns to business-as-usual operations. A Premier League statement said: “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.”