Clubs in the Premier League will be allowed to make five substitutions from the start of next season, mirroring the rest of Europe’s top leagues. The rule was introduced when competition resumed during the coronavirus pandemic, but it was scrapped for the start of the current campaign. Organisers have also announced that twice-weekly, asymptomatic Covid testing is being removed.
Premier League clubs will be allowed to make five substitutions each game from next season, mirroring what most other competitions are doing throughout Europe.
The switch from three to five subs was made when games restarted during the Covid-19 pandemic, but English top-flight teams voted against keeping it for this campaign, despite strong protests from several managers, including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola.
From the 2022/23 season, five substitutions will be able to be made on three occasions during a match, including an additional opportunity at half-time, with a maximum of nine replacements named on the bench – the same as is currently available.
It will be a relief for managers like Klopp – who recently said it did not make sense that the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and European matches all had five subs, but the Premier League did not – but Burnley’s Sean Dyche has been among those who have criticised the move, believing it benefits clubs with deeper squads.
The change follows confirmation from rule makers the International Football Association Board (IFAB) that five subs will become a permanent option across the game.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday afternoon, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta also backed the permanent change: “I’m glad that, at the end of this, we’ll have a unified criteria for all of Europe,” he said.
“It is now how we do it and how we manage it. The most important thing is it can manage the workload of players better.
“It means you don’t slow the game down too much and it gives players the opportunity to be on the pitch and gives options to change and refresh the game.
“It also means you can change in many different positions, but then at the same time it changes the timings of when thinking about subs.”
The change was agreed at a meeting of Premier League shareholders, where a number of other decisions were also made.
There was an agreement that the summer transfer window will open on June 10 and close at 2300 BST on September 1, in line with other major European leagues.
Routine coronavirus testing will also be removed from Monday, to be replaced by only testing players and staff who have symptoms, but organisers say they will continue to monitor the situation and will make changes if required.