Football

Richard Masters: No five substitutions for the foreseeable future

English Premier League chief executive officer Richard Masters does not anticipate the reintroduction of the five substitutions per match rule for the "foreseeable future".

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp and his Manchester City counterpart, Pep Guardiola, have been vocal in their criticism of the league's decision not to stick with last season's temporary rule that allowed five instead of three substitutions.

The EPL is the only major league in the world not to retain the rule for this season, with its reintroduction being voted down twice by the majority of its 20 clubs.

In response to questions in the British parliament, Masters said: "There is a real issue and I don't foresee it changing in the foreseeable future. It has been voted on twice."

While Klopp and Guardiola have lobbied for five subs on health and safety grounds, Sheffield United CEO Stephen Bettis was sceptical.

Bettis, whose club voted against the reintroduction of five subs, told Sky Sports: "We remain suspicious that big clubs simply want to be able to sub off players to rest them to keep them fresh.

"Of course, the bigger the club, the stronger the bench. Any change of rules mid-season will clearly affect the integrity of the league."

Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend, meanwhile, told talkSPORT: "You look (at last Sunday's 1-1 draw between Liverpool and City) and Pep made one sub and Klopp made two subs, and one was enforced. You desperately want five subs to protect your players but when comes to it, you don't even use the three you've been given?

"It's not for me. It unevens the playing field and gives an advantage to the sides with the bigger squads."

Football