Changes to Squad Rules Will Impact Tottenham Others in BPL

Tottenham Hotspur, Daniel Levy (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur, Daniel Levy (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /

The Premier League Shareholders met for one last time on Thursday making some decisions that will impact Tottenham and the rest of the league in 2021.

Tottenham and the other Premier League teams had their representatives meet at the final Premier League Shareholders meeting of the year and changes are coming, maybe just not the change everyone was clamoring for as the five-substitute rule was again voted down by the League. So, what new rules are in store for the League moving forward and what does it mean for Tottenham and for player welfare?

Still Only Three Substitutes

After allowing for five substitutes during the end of the Covid-impacted 2019-20 season, naturally many thought it would remain for 2020-21. However, the Premier League is the ONLY major league in Europe, and only league in England, not allowing for five substitutes during a game. Unlike the November meeting where the rule was never voted on, it was proposed and voted on Thursday according to NBCSports.

To pass a new rule within the league 14 of the 20 teams must approve the measure. According to the report from NBCSports only 10 teams voted yes including Tottenham and most of the top half of the table. Leicester City was the only current top five side not to vote yes on the measure, while West Ham, Wolves, and Villa also joined them as no votes.

The other seven teams are all in the bottom half. Notably 15th place Arsenal did vote for the additional substitute. With the motion again denied, the politicking will begin once more and maybe it gets brought up again in January, but then again maybe not. I say maybe not because two additional changes were made that could impact whether a team really needs five substitutes.

Bigger Benches

While the bench is not expanding to the 12 players you get in Europa League, staring with Matchday 14 – so Sunday against Leicester – Tottenham and the rest of the Premier League will be allowed to have nine players on their bench. The immediate impact on this is probably more for the local journalists who like to ask about this player or that player not being in the squad.

That said, for a team like Tottenham and a coach like Mourinho, two extra bodies could have a meaningful impact on the team. For example, in the game Wednesday with Liverpool, having Carlos Vinicius as an option late to provide an extra target may have been a good option.

However, with still only three changes allowed it will be up to the coach to decide who gets the call, but at least there are more tools in the box to choose from.

New Concussion Substitutes

Maybe the reason the five substitutes will not have traction moving forward is the decision to include “permanent concussion substitutes following approval of the trial by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) yesterday”, according to the Premier League Statement.

What this rule does is it allows for a substitution of a player who has an “actual or suspected concussion”. Each team would be allowed to have a “maximum of two concussion substitutes to be used per team” and these substitutes may be made “regardless of the number of substitutions a team have made already”.

By adding this rule – to be implemented in January 2021 at the earliest, not this weekend – the argument of needing a player welfare substitute, particularly for head injuries goes out the window. Suddenly one of the major talking points for needing five substitutes is gone and the odds of getting the rule updated grow smaller and smaller. The good news is at least there is an opportunity to do something if someone has a head injury.

Impact on Tottenham

Ultimately, the impact on Tottenham here will most be felt with the bigger bench. Having more options to choose from before and during the game provides Spurs with more flexibility. Additionally, having larger benches is good for younger players in England.

Many teams do not have great depth in the senior squad so some of the players to make up the 20 will come from academies. Having more younger players get experience, even if just watching from the bench, is positive for the game.

As for the substitutes and concussion rule, while the concussion rule is long overdue, the lack of passing the substitutes rule is ultimately down to survival. When you look at the teams that did not vote in favor of the rule, they are the clubs with less depth. Given the struggles at the bottom of the table, I have a hard time seeing clubs allow the more powerful to flex their muscles and bring on more players.  So, while Tottenham would benefit from two more substitutes many teams would not and the point will remain for talking and that is about it.

Related Story. Tottenham Player Ratings v Liverpool. light