Premier League clubs have already voted against the continuation of 5 substitutions per match rule but prior to that, the manager of Tottenham Hotspur, Jose Mourinho had said the rule was good for the game.
Recall that prior to the restart of the 2019-2020 season, the Premier League clubs agreed to adopt the 5 substitutions rule which was approved by the International Football Association Board (Ifab). The rule permitted teams to make 5 substitutions per match instead of the regular 3 substitutions. The rule also increased the team’s matchday squad from 18 to 20.
Though most clubs constantly ensured that they exhausted all the 5 slots in every match, some teams in the Premier League were of the opinion that the rule favored only the bigger clubs that have more resources to have a larger pool of players to select from.
Besides the argument of some of the clubs against the 5 substitutions rule, some football fans believe that the 5-substitution per match for one team within 90 minutes served as an element of unnecessary time wastage.
Their argument was that, within 90 minutes of football, a match could be stopped 10 times for ten substitutions if the two opposing teams decided to utilize all the slots. The fans also agreed with the teams that believed that the bigger teams are more favored as far as the 5-substitution rule was concerned.
5 substitutions rule: Jose Mourinho’s argument
Just like how the last part of the 2019-2020 season was characterized by condensed schedule, so would the forthcoming season. This would be so because all leagues in Europe would have to be planned in such a way that there would be room for the 2020 European Championship which was postponed until the summer of 2021.
Speaking before it was announced that the 20 clubs in the league have voted against the 5 substitutions rule, Jose Mourinho said he preferred the rule that allowed 20-player squad to the 18-player squad which the clubs have agreed to return to.
“It doesn’t make any sense to travel with 20 players and then you arrive in the stadium and have to send two guys to the stands when the clubs pay every player and invest in every player”, Mourinho said.
“And it’s much better for a manager to have on the bench a right-back, a left-back, a center-back, a winger, a midfielder, a striker.
“It’s much better to have everything there because it’s the ammunition you need. For all tactical reasons, the beauty of the game, competitive of the game, it’s a fair way to treat players because they want to feel they’re in the game, and they feel that on the bench.
“It’s different from staying at home. So the 20 players on the bench, I love it. It gives you more chances to bring young people [on] and gives a much better feeling to everybody. Twenty players on the bench, I think very, very good.
“The five subs, I don’t mind it. In the majority of matches, myself, I felt no need for that. But one thing is no need, another thing is no chance. So if you have the chance to do it, I don’t think it’s a problem. Because it can only be done in three periods, it doesn’t affect much more the real-time of the game, coaches cannot stop the game five times as you know. I think it’s fine.”
Unfortunately, those who represented Tottenham Hotspur and other 19 Premier League clubs including the newly promoted Leeds United, West Brom, and Fulham, did not see it the way Jose Mourinho saw it. The 5-substitution per game rule which was a part of the pre-coronavirus regulations has now been scrapped and only three substitutions would be allowed per team in each Premier League game in the 2020-2021 season.