Premier League to re-introduce five-subs rule next season

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The Premier League is set to return to the pandemic-era, five-substitutes rule ahead of the 2022-23 season after its clubs voted and passed the rule change on Thursday.

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Five substitutes were previously permitted for Premier League clubs beginning in May 2020, after returning from the worldwide shutdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clubs voted to return to just three substitutes from the start of the 2020-21 season, and again ahead of the 2021-22 campaign — from the Premier League’s official statement:

Clubs agreed to change the rules relating to substitute players. From next season, clubs will be permitted to use five substitutions, to be made on three occasions during a match, with an additional opportunity at halftime. A total of nine substitutes can be named on the team sheet.

The decision to return to five substitutions, with nine players on the bench (as is currently the case), comes as a result of years of lobbying by some of the sport’s biggest names, from managers to players. As the workload and physical demands placed upon the game’s top players have increased in recent years, so, too, have the calls for relief from lawmakers.

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Previously, a number of Premier League clubs — notably, those typically residing in the bottom half of the table — had rejected the rule change as they felt it would disproportionately favor the PL’s financial giants.

Premier League clubs also voted on Thursday to amend current COVID-19 testing protocols.

In addition, the Premier League has today updated its remaining COVID-19 measures.

From April 4, the League will remove twice-weekly COVID-19 testing of players and staff and move to symptomatic testing only. Other key updates include the removal of the requirement for clinical passports to access previously restricted areas at training grounds and on match days as the Premier League returns to business-as-usual operations.

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.