Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have called for football hierarchy to sanction five substitutions for the remainder of the season.
Title rival bosses Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have united in support of a rule U-turn with the reintroduction of five substitutions for each team in their games this season.
Clubs were able to make five substitutes per match during Project Restart, but this rule was subsequently scrapped before the start of the 2020/21 season due to concerns that elite clubs with larger squads would gain an unfair advantage.
Both Guardiola and Klopp insisted that the reintroduction of the five-substitute rule would help to protect their players, with an ever-mounting fixture list set to prove to be a big challenge for the season ahead.
Already this season Manchester City have lost their two main attacking threats, with Sergio Aguero on the side-lines with a hamstring injury, as well as Gabriel Jesus who has been missing from action since the end of September.
In August a vote to reintroduce the five-substitution rule was defeated eleven to nine, with another vote being conducted in September which saw less clubs vote in favour of the rule change. But more and more clubs from the top six in England are calling out for a U-turn and are rallying the rest of the Premier League clubs to vote in favour with fourteen teams needed to vote in favour in order to see the change.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB), who decide and propose changes to the laws of football in England, have suggested that they wouldn’t oppose a mid-season U-turn to the substitution rule therefore opening the door for clubs to vote in favour.
With club’s physio rooms being inundated with player injuries week in week out, Guardiola pointed a criticising finger at Premier League club’s hierarchies to support this motion.
"It’s about protecting all Premier League players and the statistics speak for themselves - almost 50 per cent more muscular injuries than last season.
"Why? Because the players play and recover from the previous game but maybe not from the previous season.
"It has to be the managers or the association of the football players (the PFA) to decide whether it’s three or five substitutions.
"Why all around the world is it happening but here, which is more demanding for many reasons, we cannot protect the players?"
Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also spoke out against the decision to abolish the five substitution rule, with both managers highlighting the importance of player welfare.
"100%. I don’t understand and can’t believe clubs voted against it. It’s the most demanding season of all and we have to look after the players’ mental and physical health." Argued Solskjaer.
Liverpool’s Klopp commented: "It doesn’t help obviously when Chelsea have injuries and City and Liverpool and United and Tottenham and Arsenal and Leicester, because that is not enough votes for the rest. That is the system.
"I thought it should have been in in the first place. For me it is a lack of leadership just to put the question on the table and say “So what do you want?
Author: William Hebb