Covid-19 saw the postponement of the Premier League and it restarted with the introduction of drinks breaks and an increase in substitutes. Fresh on the back of the inconsistent and confusing VAR system, drinks breaks were adopted and subsequently, dispensed with.
Now, it appears that the five substitutions rule permissible during the Covid-19 pandemic, is also at an end. The Premier League confirmed that they lost the vote to retain the increased number of substitutes at the annual general meeting, held on Thursday.
Some clubs were in favour, some against but it really makes no sense to dispense with this option, if teams are to compete in the modern era. In the past, injuries have cost clubs games after they have used their compliment of subs and if the game is to evolve, it should be used to at least facilitate a change in tactics and shape.
Why would anyone vote against something that helps guarantee the health of players, a number of whom have possibly been rushed back through necessity, after suffering a lack of game time through injury? The majority of players will play on with minor niggles and knocks and end up doing more damage in the process, especially with so much at stake.
Most squads, outside the top six, haven’t got the resources of a ‘Manchester City’ to field a squad ‘A’ and ‘B’ of equal strength and for Premier League clubs that are perpetually involved in the seasonal dogfight against relegation, more substitutes might also assist their cause. It’s just my humble opinion but if they looked at the rebooted season, they would see that it was beneficial in many respects to a great many clubs.
The game has gone through major changes, can clubs really claim that having more personnel available across a long and arduous season is a bad thing? Arsenal’s rebooted campaign saw injuries aplenty, with loan acquisition Pablo Mari and Granit Xhaka among the casualties. Worse was to befall Arsenal with the added complication of David Luiz’s dismissal against Manchester City.
At least, they could re-jig the formation with a man down and multiple injuries, imagine what would have happened with the normal allocation of three subs. So again I ask, why to resist something that will surely be an inevitable change to the game. There was resistance to the introduction of VAR but eventually, it came into being, this won’t be any different, and for good reason.