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#PLStories- Premier League set for 5 substitutes rule change that Aston Villa boss Dean Smith despises #AVFC

Dean Smith Aston Villa

Aston Villa will be able to play five substitutes in the Premier League from next season after lawmakers agreed to a change in the rules. The number of substitutions has been a divisive topic over the last year ever since top-flight teams were temporarily allowed to make five subs when football restarted amid the coronavirus pandemic. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wanted that to be a permanent change for the 2020-21 season but not enough clubs voted in favour of it. Competitions like the Champions League and Europa League both allow five subs, but the Premier League went back to three. But now football lawmakers IFAB has recommended a permanent change to the number of substitutes permitted in a game.

IFAB statement read: “[The IFAB’s Football and Technical Advisory Panels] today recommended that competitions should be able to decide on increasing the number of substitutes according to the needs of their football environment, while the current number of substitution opportunities (three plus half-time) should stay the same.” 

That is now likely to put pressure on the Premier League given other European leagues such as La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga, also allow five substitutions. There have been plenty of arguments against the ruling, however, with many feeling that two extra subs is an advantage to the big clubs with huge squads. Last season, Villa head coach Dean Smith insisted that he needed more evidence to prove player welfare is at risk before he backs the reintroduction of five substitutions in the Premier League.

Dean Smith said: “We had a meeting and we spoke at length about each manager’s individual feelings. I can only go from my football club, and if player welfare becomes an issue then it’s a no-brainer and you have to increase substitutions or look at the fixture scheduling. At the moment, I’m not seeing any trends from my players that suggest player welfare is an issue. I speak to my players all the time – I want the best for them and I want to look after them. That’s what we’re doing.”


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