Premier League confirm new five substitutes rule

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The Premier League have confirmed that five substitutes will be allowed for the rest of the 2019-20 season.

Clubs voted in favor of the move during their latest meeting on Thursday, as there were concerns that players could suffer injuries after being out of action from March 13 when the Premier League was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With nine games squeezed into six weeks of action from the restart on June 17 to late July, there is a real concern about player fatigue and Premier League clubs also voted in favor of having nine substitutes on the bench instead of seven.

In accordance with new laws from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and FIFA, the five substitutes are allowed to be made in three windows by clubs during a Premier League game.

Below is the statement in full from the Premier League on the new rule for five substitutes:


“Premier League Shareholders today agreed temporary changes to the rules relating to substitute players. For the remainder of the 2019/20 season, the number of substitutes that can be used during a match will increase from three to five players. This is in line with the temporary law amendment made by the International Football Association Board last month. Shareholders also approved for Clubs to increase the maximum number of substitute players on the bench from seven to nine for the rest of the 2019/20 season.”


There are some who say that this will give the big boys in the Premier League an advantage as their squads 1-20 are stronger than teams in the bottom half of the table. There may be something to that, and this rule change may also be an advantage to teams who play at a higher intensity (Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester and Chelsea to name a few) as they can sub more players in to keep up their high-pressing style.

Some are also suggesting that with five substitutes not allowed earlier in the 2019-20 season, there is a question of integrity as the rules have now changed. In that instance, the lengthy break is something that needed to be handled differently to another other previous situation and solutions from outside the box needed to be agreed to. In the Bundesliga, five substitutes has worked well and this does feel like a temporary fix.

Whatever the pros and cons, Premier League clubs have agreed to it and it is happening.