From next season, the Premier League will reportedly allow teams to make five replacements during games, with top-flight clubs expected to reverse their stance on the rule.
The topic will be voted on again at a Premier League stakeholder meeting in London on Thursday, following multiple attempts by a handful of clubs over the last two years to reintroduce the rule.
And while many Premier League teams were opposed to reintroducing the regulation, there is a strong belief that there is sufficient support for it to be reinstated, according to The Times.
When the Premier League resumed play in June 2020 following the first Covid lockout, the Premier League upped the number of permitted replacements to five. It reverted to three last season, despite the fact that all other major European leagues continued to use five.
This decision was made following a vote in which ten Premier League clubs voted against the reintroduction.
While the larger teams supported the regulation, it was stated that it would be a significant disadvantage for the league’s lesser clubs, who lacked the depth of those near the top of the table.
Maheta Molango, the PFA’s chair, feels the rise – which he supports – confers no competitive advantage on larger clubs.
‘We are adamantly opposed,’ he stated earlier this month. ‘We have communicated this to the Premier League. It should never have been a topic of competitive advantage since – as studies demonstrate – it has nothing to do with competitive advantage. This is solely a player welfare issue.
‘With so many games to be played, we need to ensure that players get adequate rest.’
Molango, who also wants a minimum 72-hour interval between matches, believes the existing system favors foreign players.
‘We don’t want to disadvantage our clubs globally,’ he explained. ‘Our international competitors have five substitutes. We are the only major league in the world that has not embraced this rule. When our clubs compete against heavyweights like Italy, Spain, and France, the reality is that those clubs would have had a lot greater opportunity to rotate.’
Jurgen Klopp, who has been a vocal supporter of restoring the rule, reiterated his position earlier this month. ‘We played Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Tuesday,’ he explained.
”If we can make improvements, we will. If it isn’t, it isn’t. It is critical that we return for the five substitutes.’
In October, the IFAB proposed that five replacements be made permanent in football.