Premier League approves 5 subs for rest of season

London, Jun 4 (efe-epa).- The Premier League has approved a temporary rule change to allow teams to make up to five substitutions when action resumes on June 17.

The league was suspended mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic with nine match days left to play in the campaign.

“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,” a statement on Thursday said.

The Premier League also announced that the number of players allowed in the match day squad and on the bench will be increased from seven players to nine.

The rule changes were approved following an amendment last week by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body responsible for the laws of the game, intended to ease fixture congestion and allow players enough time to recover between matches taking place in condensed periods at the height of summer, “both of which could have impacts on player welfare.”

Many teams will have to play three games in less than eight days as the league tries to clear the backlog of fixtures.

To keep the games flowing and avoid unnecessary stoppages in play, teams will only be afforded three opportunities during matches to make their substitutions in addition to half-time.

Spanish top flight La Liga, whose games will kick off again on June 11, and Germany’s Bundesliga, which restarted on May 16, have both also approved the temporary increase in the number of substitutes.

Premier League players only returned to training in May, with full contact only permitted from last week, raising concerns of increased risk of injuries.

But several coaches, including Manchester United’s manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, have dismissed those fears, focussing instead on players’ potential rustiness of play rather than their physical condition.

Many professional footballers and other elite athletes posted home workout videos on social media as they tried to stay in shape during the three-month layoff.

Due to the government ban on large public gatherings, all remaining fixtures will be played behind closed doors.

Liverpool, the reigning champions of Europe, lead the league by a whopping 25 points, and are just two wins away from sealing a first league title in 30 years. EFE-EPA


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