Five substitutions are back on the Premier League’s agenda – and could come into play next season.
Sportsmail understands that top flight clubs have been told to expect a vote at June’s annual general meeting, with a captain’s call on the matter scheduled today.
The uplift from the existing three changes has the backing of the Professional Footballers’ Association, and last week Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reiterated his call for five subs to be permitted. Others in the top six share the German’s stance, including Manchester City rival Pep Guardiola.
However, it remains a contentious issue, with some of those outside the elite believing it would give an unfair advantage to those who have more expensively-assembled squads which boast greater strength in depth.
The Premier League increased the number of allowed replacements to five when it restarted in June 2020, following the first Covid lockdown. However, it reverted back to three last season, despite all other major European leagues continuing to stick with five.
That move came following a vote, at which 10 top-flight clubs went against the re-introduction.
Maheta Molango, chair of the PFA, believes the increase – which he supports – provides no competitive advantage to the bigger clubs.
“We are absolutely in favour of it,’ he said. ‘We have made this clear to the Premier League. It should never have been a discussion about competitive advantage because it has nothing to do with competitive advantage – as studies show. This is purely a question of player welfare.
“When so many games need to be played we need to make sure the players get a chance to rest properly.”
Molango, who also wants the introduction of a minimum 72-hour gap between matches, feels the current set-up is giving those abroad an advantage.
“We don’t want to put our clubs at a disadvantage globally,” he said. “Our competitors overseas have five subs. We are the only top league that has snot adopted that rule. When our clubs face giants in Italy, in Spain, in France, the reality is that those clubs would have had the chance to rotate much more.”
Last week Klopp again aired his view. “We played Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday and Tuesday, that’s a horrible schedule,” he said.
“If we can make changes, we will do that. If it’s not, it’s not. It’s essential that we go again for the five subs.”
In October, rulemakers IFAB recommended five substitutions be implemented on a permanent basis in football.
The Premier League declined to comment. – Sportsmail