Premier League clubs will still to be allowed to name nine substitutes during the 2021/22 season.
The increased numbers of available subs was a measure first put in place for Project Restart back in June 2020, in an attempt to reduce the risk of injury after the season was disrupted by the pandemic.
The size of the substitute bench reverted to seven for the 2021/22 season, before clubs voted to expand it once again in December. According to the The Athletic, these rules will remain in place for the upcoming campaign with the addition of two extra changes being permitted if it is suspected that a player is suffering from concussion.
Although clubs will have a greater choice of substitutes, teams will still only be allowed three per match. The amount of subs allowed has been a controversial battleground in recent times.
Both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola were critical of the Premier League’s failure to allow five substitutions last season – a decision which was out of step with the rest of Europe. It is believed that the additional spaces on the bench are a compromise.
It is not the only rule change ahead of the upcoming season too. Two Laws of the Game have been altered which will have a drastic effect on the way handball is interpreted.
As per a Premier League statement: “Referees will now look for a deliberate action on behalf of the player, with an emphasis on whether the hand/arm is in a natural position or not.”
There has also been a tweak to the way handballs in the lead up to a goal will be treated, with a statement reading: “If an attacking player’s accidental handball immediately precedes another player scoring, the goal will now be awarded, when last season it was likely to have been ruled out.
“However, a player will still be penalised if he commits an accidental handball immediately before scoring himself.”
The two changes should lead to a significant decrease in the amount of controversial handball decisions made during the forthcoming campaign. Emphasis on should.