Sheffield United could benefit from a major law change announced today

Premier League clubs, including Sheffield United, have agreed to increase the number of substitutes allowed in a match to five for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

Thursday, 4th June 2020, 2:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th June 2020, 3:20 pm

Teams will now be permitted to have nine substitutes on the bench, the league has confirmed.

It follows a temporary dispensation granted by the game's law-making body the International Football Association Board.

The purpose of the change is to help manage the workload of players who are returning to action after the suspension of fixtures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and who are likely to benefit from only a short break before the 2020-21 campaign begins.

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Germany’s Bundesliga, which returned in last month, has adopted the five substitutes rule.

Substitutions can only be made at a maximum of three points in a match, to avoid unnecessary delays.

Sources reported that no decision was taken on a framework to curtail the season at today’s summit meeting of PL members.

There had been reports some clubs were still hoping for relegation to be ruled out if the season could not be finished.

General view of Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture date: 22nd November 2019. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

EFL chairman Rick Parry warned last month that "lawyers are going to get wealthy" if the Premier League did attempt to block clubs being promoted from the Championship, and said it would be a breach of the tripartite agreement between his organisation, the Premier League and the Football Association which was set out when the English top flight was founded in 1992.

It has been reported that clubs will only settle on a curtailment model in the event of a competition being suspended for a second time.

Guidance set out by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport last weekend calls for there to be "an agreed procedure in place to modify, restrict, postpone or cancel the competition".

United, who are seventh in the table, are scheduled to return to action on June 17 with an away match at Aston Villa.

Chris Wilder’s side will move two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, with nine league matches remaining, if they beat Dean Smith’s side.

United had also reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, when football entered lockdown in March.

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