Premier League 5 subs rule explained as major U-turn made ahead of the 2022/23 season

Five substitutions will now be allowed from September onwards in Premier League matches

The Premier League is now set to change its stance on the number of substitutions it will allow in a game.

A stakeholders meeting took place on Thursday 31 March 2022 with a number of clubs voting to change the rule and allow up to five substitutions per game.

Back in May 2020, five substitutions were allowed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, however this reverted back to three subs when the 2020/21 season kicked off.

Teams have previously voted against this change on several occasions in the past two years but a U-turn has been made and as of the 2022/23 season, five substitutions will be allowed with nine players allowed to be listed as substitutes.

This meeting also confirmed that the summer transfer window will open on Sunday 10th June and will close at 11pm on Thursday 1st September.

Covid-19 testing will now only be a requirement for those who are symptomatic.

What has been said?

A statement from the Premier League announced: “Premier League shareholders met today and discussed a range of matters.

“Clubs agreed to change the rules relating to substitute players, From next season, clubs will be permitted to use five substitutions, to be made on three occasions during a match, with an additional opportunity at half-time.

“A total of nine substitutes can be named on the team sheet.

Man City’s John Stones and Everton’s Anthony Gordon
Man City’s John Stones and Everton’s Anthony Gordon
Man City’s John Stones and Everton’s Anthony Gordon

“It was also confirmed that the Summer 2022 Transfer Window will open on 10 June 2022  and will close at 23.00 BST on 1 September in line with other European leagues.

“In addition, the Premier League has today updated its remaining Covid-19 measures.

“From 4 April, the League will remove twice-weekly Covid-19 testing of players and staff and move to symptomatic testing only. Other key updates include the removal of the requirement for clinical passports to access previously restricted areas at training grounds on match days as the Premier League returns to business-as-usual operations.

“The well-being of players and staff remains a priority and the Premier League will continue to monitor the national Covid-19 situation and adapt league-wide protocols as required, in line with the latest guidance from public health authorities and medical experts.”

What has the resistance for the move been?

All other major European Leagues decided to continue with the five substitutions rule after its initial introduction back in 2020.

However, the Premier League decided to revert due to resistance from top-flight clubs.

At least 10-top flight clubs initially rejected the proposal. Bigger clubs appeared to be in favour of the move but the smaller clubs went against this as they felt it would be a major disadvantage to them given they lacked the same depth.

The chair of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Maheta Molango however believes that this increase will not provide the bigger clubs with a competitive advantage.

Earlier this month, Molango said: “We have made this clear to the Premier League. It should never have been a discussion about competitive advantage because it has nothing to do with competitive advantage - as studies show. This is purely a question of player welfare.

“When so many games need to be played we need to make sure the players get a chance to rest properly.”

Molango is also in favour of a minimum 72-hour gap between matches as he feels the current format gives clubs abroad an advantage.

“We don’t want to put our clubs at a disadvantage globally. Our competitors overseas have five subs. We are the only top league that has not adopted that rule. When our clubs face giants in Italy, in Spain, in France, the reality is that those clubs would have had the chance to rotate much more.”

Jurgen Klopp is in favour of 5 subs rule
Jurgen Klopp is in favour of 5 subs rule
Jurgen Klopp is in favour of 5 subs rule

Who is in favour of the move?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been strongly in favour of the reintroduction. Earlier in March, the Reds boss said: “We played, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday and Tuesday, that’s a horrible schedule.

“If we can make changes, we will do that. If it’s not, it’s not. It’s essential that we go again for five subs.”