A report from The Athletic has revealed that five substitutes may once again be a tool for all coaches to use in the upcoming season. The IFAB (International Football Association Board) is expected to extend the new regulation as the hectic schedule for professional football players will only continue into next season.
The games will come thick and fast for the 2020-2021 season and IFAB wants to protect players from injuries given there will be limited time for a pre-season this summer. It will ultimately be up to each individual league to decide if they want to continue to implement the five substitution rule. Some rumors have suggested that the rule could become permanent in the near future.
Smaller clubs may argue—like Eibar’s Jose Luis Mendilibar has— that the new rule only favors the wealthier clubs who have the resources to build deep squads. To counter Mendilibar’s point, it will give smaller clubs the opportunity to test and identify promising youth products and may be able to help them sustain less injuries over the course of the season thus improving their overall record. Additionally, bigger and more wealthier clubs usually are involved in European competitions and go deeper within domestic Cup competitions, playing as much as 15-20 games more than a club like Eibar might over the course of a season.