The International FA Board have recommended a proposal to make the increase from three to five substitutes per game permanent.
The Times report that the temporary rule allowing teams to make five substitutes is set to become permanent. Teams would still only have three opportunities to make substitutions, as in this year’s edition of the League Cup.
There is a catch. Despite the rule change, individual competitions would still be allowed to opt for three substitutions. That’s what the Premier League is currently doing, so they could continue to do so even after the change is made permanent.
The Premier League did bring in the change during the first pandemic campaign, but they’ve since reverted to three substitutions.
Obviously there will be more pressure on the Premier League to adopt the new system if everybody else is, but the division is full of stubborn clubs resistant to change, so we’ll see.
Undoubtedly, the change would be a good thing for Arsenal, and I’d certainly expect the Gunners to support any Premier League proposal to introduce the new rule.
Arsenal have an overstuffed squad, so it would be a good way to get the players more game time, and to rest the current group of starters more often.
On top of that, it would allow for the academy players to get involved with the senior side on a more regular basis, which should help them to develop.
I’d argue that even the smaller clubs could find ways to benefit from the extra substitutions. If they use them wisely in the right moments, it could really help them to keep their starting lineup fit for the games that matter.
Arsenal can absorb an injury to Granit Xhaka or Kieran Tierney, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, but clubs lower down the league often rely more heavily on their first-choice side. Any change to help them keep that side fit should be bonus for them.