Premier League Chief Executive Insists Substitutes Rule Is Unlikely to Change for 'Foreseeable' Future

Nov 11, 2020, 2:30 PM GMT
Richard Masters
Masters has claimed the substitutes rule is unlikely to change any time soon | Alex Morton/Getty Images

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has insisted the he doesn't see the three substitutes rule changing any time soon, following criticism from some top-flight coaches.

Following the restart in 2019/20, teams in England's top division were granted permission to make five substitutions during a game. However, this was scrapped for the beginning of the 2020/21 campaign, with the Premier League moving back to three - even though many of Europe's other top leagues have voted to continue with the increased number.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp both voiced their displeasure with the rule reversal at the weekend, arguing that they should be allowed to make five changes, considering the season's unusually packed schedule.

Despite the fact that the matter has been voted on (and rejected) twice before, managers could yet try a third time.

But Masters has now explained that considering there have been already been two votes held, he doesn't see things changing for the foreseeable future. He told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, as quoted by BBC Sport: "We have had two votes on it at club level and both have been relatively supportive of three subs.

"That has created some frustration, alongside discussions of fixture scheduling, which is related to the pandemic. There is a real issue and I don't see it changing in the foreseeable future."

Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola
Klopp and Guardiola recently spoke angrily about the matter | Pool/Getty Images

After Man City and Liverpool's 1-1 draw on Sunday in the Premier League, Guardiola and Klopp both hit out at the decision makers, calling for more action to be taken to protect everyone involved. Klopp claimed it's a must to bring it back, insisting (via Sky Sports): "All the teams have to understand why it's so helpful. It's not an advantage, it's a necessity. 100 per cent.

"In all other countries it happens and here we make a bit more fun of the competition by having only three subs. That is really incredible, so we have to talk again."

Guardiola, meanwhile, described the current situation as a 'disaster', while further adding that he will demand a change if he can.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - who has also backed the idea of moving back to five substitutions - hit out at the decision to make his side play the first league game of the weekend (Saturday at 12:30) despite the fact they had played on Wednesday evening in the Champions League. Solskjaer labelled it 'an absolute joke' after his side's 3-1 win over Everton.

Indeed, the fixture schedule has proven to be another issue, with Guardiola and Klopp backing Solskjaer in calling for change in order to prevent injuries like the ones suffered by Luke Shaw and Trent Alexander-Arnold.