Premier League clubs have voted to return to the three substitute rule next season, following the introduction of up to five replacements since the division’s restart.
The representative clubs held a vote at the Premier League shareholder’s meeting on Thursday, with the division now set to return to three substitutes next season, alongside match-day squads of 18 players.
According to the Telegraph, the prospect of adopting the five substitute ruling was ’emphatically’ met by opposition from clubs outside of England’s elite, who believe the move would hand an ‘unfair advantage’ to the Premier League’s richest sides in possession of deeper squad depth.
Rule changes must receive a majority of 14 votes to be implemented, today’s vote seeing just nine sides in favour of the rule change with 11 against. Votes were also held on the size of match-day squads, though a 10-10 vote over proposals to increase squads to 20 players means that they will revert to the 18 used before the Premier League’s mid-season suspension.
The initial change in rules came following the enforced break in the campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic, the use of increased substitutes and drinks breaks – which have also been removed ahead of next season – implemented in a bid to protect returning players from injury.
Leeds, West Brom and Fulham – the three sides promoted to the Premier League ahead of next season – were present for the meeting and cast votes ahead of the changes, all three voting in favour to return to three substitutes and match-day squads of 18.