The debate over five substitutions is rumbling on in England, but across the continent it seems that everyone else is being much more sensible…
As hard as it might be to believe, it would appear that the Premier League is a little out of step with the rest of Europe.
Shocking, we know. There are several scenarios that this statement might apply to, but in this case specifically it is on the five substitutes rule.
Debate is currently rumbling among many in England about whether to introduce a couple of extra replacements, with some (Jurgen Klopp) insisting that it’s crucial for the protection of their overstretched players, while others (Chris Wilder) believe it will only benefit the clubs with the biggest and deepest squads.
However, we asked our European experts on The Totally Football Show about the regulation, and it appears there is much less debate on the continent.
On France, Julien Laurens said:
“There was not much of a debate. Even smaller sides were happy to keep it this season. Even smaller sides who didn’t have the squad depth of PSG or Lyon. None of the small teams have been complaining that it’s an unfair advantage.”
On Italy, James Horncastle said:
“In Italy there hasn’t been the same outcry. The five substitutes rule has informed transfer strategy for a lot of the clubs, particularly those that have come up [from Serie B]. They have taken a lot of players on loan from the top sides and given a lot of Italy under-21 players more game time than they would get at the likes of Inter, Juve and Milan.
“I think one of the reasons they’re more accepting of this rule is because Italy has been more impacted by Covid-19 – or at least teams have. There have been more cases per club than in the Premier League, and in conjunction with the injuries they’ve had, it’s been a welcome option to have those two extra subs.”
On Spain, Alvaro Romeo said:
“In Spain very few actually contested this idea. In July, or the beginning of August, a team that was about to be promoted to the top flight, Fuenlabrada, had an outbreak. That made every club reflect a little bit more carefully about all of this.”
And on Germany, Raphael Honigstein said:
“In the third division, clubs have actually decided against this rule – I think they didn’t want to have too many players because they can’t afford them.
“But Bundesliga 1 and 2, who made the decision together, there was a a strong majority. I think because it was 36 clubs rather than 20 in the Premier League, there wasn’t that divide between the top and the bottom. There wasn’t the sense that ‘we could have an edge here’.”
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