ECA chairman expects most European leagues to allow five substitutes next season
By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter
European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli expects the use of five substitutes across major competitions to alleviate the demands of a 2020-21 season set to be more congested than any other – with the notable exception of the Premier League.
Top-flight clubs in England have opted to revert to three substitutes for the coming season, with Juventus chairman Agnelli saying a majority of clubs in the Premier League wanted to keep five substitutes, but not enough for a 14-majority vote.
He expects this to be one key measure in reducing player workload, with the new season beginning within days of the old one ending.
“I understand Germany and France have already voted in favour of five substitutes throughout the season, I understand Spain is turning around their decision and making it into five substitutions and I think in Italy the board level of the league has voted in favour of five substitutions,” he said at the ECA’s general assembly on Tuesday.
“I understand that in England a majority – albeit not a qualified majority of 14 clubs – voted in favour of five substitutions.
“I think we want to make sure that we see this also at international level, in the Champions League, Europa League, so that we have a consistent, harmonised style of play. This was a consensus we had across the general assembly when we discussed it amongst ourselves, especially given the congested calendar.
“From October to Christmas, national team players play every three days for three months.”
The game’s law-making body, the International Football Association Board announced in July that the five substitutes rule would be extended into 2020-21, but that it would be up to individual competitions whether or not they adopted it.