EFL to allow teams five substitutions from Friday

Wednesday 18th November 2020 18:45 GMT

Following consultation with clubs, the EFL Board agreed to increase the permitted number of substitutes to five in all Sky Bet EFL fixtures taking place from November 20 until the remainder of the 2020/21 season.

Championship clubs can name up to nine substitutes in their matchday squad, with five permitted to take to the pitch in any fixture. League One and League Two side can name up to seven substitutes in their matchday squad, with five permitted to take to the pitch.

In August, Premier League clubs voted against allowing teams to make five substitutions per game in the 2020/21 season and the issue was voted on twice before start of the campaign - on both occasions clubs voted in favour of three subs.

Any club can propose a change, at any time, but it requires the support of 14 clubs to pass the proposal through.

Premier League CEO Richard Masters told parliamentary inquiry last week he did not expect re-introduction of five subs "for foreseeable future."

The English top flight is the only major European league that decided against continuing with the system this season, used towards the end of the last term after the coronavirus pandemic truncated the length of the 2019/20 campaign.

The Premier League is not expected to reintroduce the five-substitute rule this season despite some strong support from at least half of its clubs, following a survey of the clubs by Sky Sports News earlier this month.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola have both complained the decision to reduce substitutes to three despite difficulties brought on by the pandemic is partly responsible for a spate of muscular injuries across the top flight.

Klopp said earlier this month it is a "necessity" for clubs to have five substitutes per match in the Premier League, while Guardiola labelled the current three subs limit a "disaster".

Southgate urges Premier League to reconsider sub rule

England manager Gareth Southgate has also called on the Premier League to revisit their rules regarding substitutions.

"We were able to make five changes against Belgium - we made four in the end - and clubs don't have that option," Southgate said. "What will it take for that to change? There were a couple of less serious injuries against Belgium but what do we do? Wait until we get a load of really nasty ones?"

Southgate, who is also unhappy at the lack of a winter break this season, said England had taken measures to try and help players recover physically but he worries the issue will persist if something is not done soon.

"I have to be fair to the club managers. They are their players firstly and they have the right to play them as they see fit," he added.

"(Injuries are) a worry in the longer term because with no winter break, something has to give."

Warburton on five subs: Common sense has prevailed

QPR manager Mark Warburton says he was initially against having five substitutions as he felt it handed an advantage to teams with bigger squads, but is now behind the rule as he says it puts player welfare first.

The Championship employed the rule at the end of last season, and Warburton feared it was open to exploitation, but he says "common sense" has now prevailed.

"I must admit I was pleased this morning to see the news, having initially been very much against the proposal," he told Sky Sports News.

"We had it at the end of last season of course, and I felt very strongly that it favoured the bigger squads, the wealthier clubs, in terms of the size and depth of their squad.

"You have three opportunities to use it, so you hope very much it doesn't slow down the flow of the game, which was an initial fear for many people.

"I do worry about the dynamic of a game, I do worry about a team being 1-0 up away from home - do you take your forward line off and put on three defensive midfielders, for example, to change it?

"It doesn't go against the rules of the game, so to speak, but it does change undoubtedly the dynamic of that game.

"But I think now the overriding factor has to be the health and welfare of the players.

"This level of toll, this level of loading on individual players is so damaging, the data shows you the injury rate is rising so dramatically.

"We have to look after them and I think this rule, this is common sense coming into play."

Now On Air
Coast FM at Breakfast
Listen to Coast with your toast and start your day right with Coast FM's More Music Breakfast