Football

EPL clubs agree on 5 substitutions, with 9 players on the bench

English Premier League clubs will be able to make five substitutions, rather than the usual three, when the season resumes, it was announced yesterday.

Clubs are also allowed to have nine reserve players on the bench, up from the usual seven.

The changes will be temporary to mitigate the packed schedule clubs will have after a three-month suspension to the season caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The season will restart on June 17, with 92 outstanding fixtures and the majority of teams facing nine matches over six weeks.

"For the remainder of the 2019/20 season, the number of substitutes that can be used during a match will increase from three to five players," said an EPL statement, after a meeting of shareholders.

"This is in line with the temporary law amendment made by the International Football Association Board last month."

The games are expected to be held on the normal "home and away" basis, with only a handful of fixtures possibly being moved to neutral venues if authorities believe there may be a risk of fans turning up outside the stadia.

Clubs also discussed possible "broadcast enhancements" to allow television to have additional material to liven up the coverage of games without fans.

Reports have suggested that cameras on the bench, in the dressing room and extra ones in the tunnel could be allowed, along with the sound of the coin toss before the game.

Also on the agenda was the hot topic of how the standings would be decided should the season be curtailed.

The British media reported that the issue was discussed, but clubs will make a decision only when they have to.

The options include a points-per-game model, where a team's number of points is divided by the number of matches they have played. - REUTERS

Football