London’s Premier League clubs are expected to be fiercely divided over whether to carry on with the increased number of substitutes next season.

The game’s international lawmakers, IFAB, allowed the introduction of five subs until the end of this season and now want to give leagues the option to extend the measure for the whole of 2020-21, arguing that players will still be at risk of fatigue and injuries given the short turnaround between campaigns.

Chelsea, who were behind the move to nine players on the bench, are thought to strongly favour an extension, while Arsenal also see it as beneficial, with manager Mikel Arteta having used four or more subs in every game since the restart and enjoying the chance to blood young players.

West Ham are firmly opposed, however, believing it benefits the bigger clubs, while Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has said it would not be “in the interest of the club” for it to continue next season. Watford are also understood to be opposed going forward, despite voting for the temporary measure.

The Hammers, Aston Villa, Sheffield United and Bournemouth voted against the temporary change for Project Restart.

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has said the club were neutral over the rule’s introduction but claimed it was pushed through by a cabal of “powerful clubs”. Mourinho has so far only used more than three subs in one of the five matches since the restart.

The issue could be raised informally at today’s Premier League shareholders’ meeting which will focus on next season’s fixture list.  Continue reading

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