The Premier League has moved permanently to the new rule of five subs in a match, effective from the 2022-23 season. Many believe that this is going to influence Premier League results and that it will also affect sports betting both from the perspective of punters and the perspective of bookmakers at Allbets. It is not the first time the Premier League is using the five substitutions rule, but it is the first time that it issues a permanent change, voted by the majority of the clubs.
Back in June 2020, after the suspension of all games due to the coronavirus outbreak, FIFA suggested the five subs rule as a temporary solution to the fears and uncertainty generated by the pandemic and the IFAB issued the policy concerning the European leagues. All other leagues, but the Premier League, opted for maintaining the five subs rule in the next periods as well, making it a permanent measure. The Premier League, although, rejected it in the 2021-22 season, decided to eventually get in line with the other leagues and adopt the new rule as from the 2022-23 season.
The argument against the five subs rule
However, the five subs rule has not been welcomed by all. A general premise is that the Premier League is giving up the emphasis on its competitiveness and it’s leaning towards favoring the most wealthy clubs. Some believe that the league’s shift signifies a change of priorities, which once were to shield and safeguard competitiveness and now it has become to promote the success of clubs with the biggest squads. This kind of thinking is fairly justified by the fact that the Premier League itself had previously abandoned the five subs rule, because there was an overall negative perception on the part of smaller clubs regarding the unfair advantage that the rule would give on the top clubs.
The case for the five subs rule
On the other hand, there is a strong case for the five substitutions rule and its permanent issue in all leagues, including the most popular and prestigious one – the Premier League. Managers and executives agree that it is probably the best way to handle one big problem leagues face and this is players’ fatigue and health prevention. Safeguarding footballers’ health should be a top priority, especially as the pandemic has brought at the forefront the critical role of well-being. In fact, the Premier League’s official statement regarding the introduction of the five subs rule advocated for its role in ensuring players’ well-being, fighting fatigue and aligning to public health organizations’ suggestions.
With the introduction of five subs, clubs will have a total of nine substitutions – along with the half-time substitutions. So, managers will be able to have their best players on the bench, getting some rest, preserving their power and their strength for critical and challenging matches. At the same time, they will be able to cater for the well-being of all players, as they are going to be more easily substituted with the new rule. It is easily understood that from a well-being, health and club’s dynamic perspective, the five subs rule is a positive thing.
From the perspective of the club’s strategy, the five subs rule is also a positive thing. Just consider that managers will be able to choose among more players to go fight in the field and also they will have more options to devise and implement their strategy during the game.
What about the unfair advantage?
Leveraging the advantages given by the five subs rule becomes pertinent on the club itself, its squad depth and quality. Wealthier clubs, in the top of the Premier League, can undoubtedly afford star footballers, top transfers and as such they can build ‘elite’ squads and have many outstanding players even sitting on the bench. Smaller clubs can’t afford the breadth and the depth in this regard. So, the five subs rule is more like giving an extra advantage to those who already have one. This is normally what many people think of the potential effect of the five subs on the performance of the clubs in the Premier League.
Besides the different perspectives, it remains to be seen how the five subs rule will work in the Premier League in practice. It will certainly be very interesting to watch how the clubs are going to use this change and who’s gonna benefit from that in the end.