Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, has urged the Premier League to continue the five substitutes rule for next season amid concerns over the impact of a shortened off-season.
Over fears surrounding player injury after the enforced break, the rule to add two additional players onto the original three-per game was permitted to help clubs and players ease back into the swing of things.
Before the restart, the Premier League made changes to the substitute rule, allowing nine players to be named on the bench with changes being allowed to happen on three separate occasions, enabling up to five players to be replaced.
In support of the rule change, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) extended the rule to be allowed in next season, though not mandatory to be enforced by leagues. The reason IFAB announced the extension is that they believe that "the impact on player welfare is likely to continue into 2021".
The Premier League will hold a vote this Thursday, on whether the five-player substitute rule should be used for the 2020-21 campaign, needing 14 clubs in favour for it to be approved.
However, before the introduction of the rule for project restart, the rule had received criticism. Some believe the rule is in favour of the big teams within the league, as they’ve got stronger squad depth due to attracting better talent because of their spending power. Therefore, creating a bigger disparity among the clubs, making a less interesting and competitive contest. A worry for fans as its one of the unique characteristics of English football, something which you’d struggle to find anywhere else.
Bobby Barnes, European President of the international players’ union FIFPRO has said, "In the circumstances we feel that five substitutes has been a positive decision to protect the health and welfare of players."
Frank’s fears are understandable, as a manager you prepare for the worst and hope for the best with your players. Lampard has been quoted saying, "Players need to be given a break to play at the level and quality the Premier League is,"
"Even in a worst-case scenario we don't go through against Bayern, the 12th feels too early for me for the players to be start playing again. The players need a break. That is why we have pulled two hamstrings [Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta] and had players pull out of the game before this.”
"I would like to think the Premier League would look seriously at that and hopefully give us a fair start next season. We deserve to be as a Premier league club competing in the Champions League."
A week after the FA Cup final defeat, Lampard’s team resume their Champions League campaign against FC Bayern Munich in the second leg of the last-16. Even if the Blues make it all the way to the final on August 23, it’s reported Premier League clubs will have at least 30 days to rest and recover.
The 29th season of the Premier League is set to begin on September 12, with a later start date for those clubs who reach the latter stages of European Cup competitions.
Author: James Parker