Klopp, Guardiola and Solskjaer unite on subs rule

Date published: Saturday 31st October 2020 10:54


The managers of Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United have united to plead for a re-think on the five subs rule after a rise in muscle injuries this season.

A lack of proper pre-season and a packed fixture schedule means squads are already feeling the effects of injuries.

Fifa had sanctioned the continued use of five substitutes in all competitions until August 2021 but Premier League chief executive Richard Masters put the decision to a vote and the majority of the top-flight’s executives voted against the change because they thought it benefited the biggest clubs.

That has left Klopp and his contemporaries incensed with the Liverpool manager saying: “It should be [back on the agenda] but I don’t think it’s possible because of the system.

“It doesn’t help obviously when Chelsea have injuries, and City and Liverpool and United and Tottenham and Arsenal and Leicester, because that is not enough votes for the rest.

“That is the system. I thought it should have been back in in the first place.

“For me it is a lack of leadership just to put the question on the table and say: ‘So what do you want with that?’ It should have been sold – if that’s the right word – differently with more information, showing more of what could happen, by Richard Masters. We never asked for any advantage.

“None of the top seven clubs asked for any advantage. We just knew, because we knew our schedule, that it would be incredibly difficult. To have the best games at the weekend in the Premier League, it would have helped that as well. I think we should think about it again.”

Guardiola questioned the decision-making process, saying: “It is time to take care of the main reason why everybody is in this business – the football players.

“Five substitutions is not about the advantage for some teams, it is to protect the players – all of them in the last 15, 25, 30 minutes. When you play every three days you start to suffer.


“Why is it happening all around the world in all the leagues – Italy, Germany, Spain – and here where it is more demanding for many reasons we cannot protect the players? It’s not to protect Manchester City.

“The stats speak for themselves – almost 50% more muscular injuries than last season. Why? Because the players play and look to recover from the previous game but most of them are still recovering from the previous season so why should we not do it? No sense, no sense.

“Who voted? The sporting directors, the presidents, the chairmans: who are they to decide this? Who are they? They have to protect the players.”

And Manchester United boss Solskjaer says: “I don’t understand and cannot believe that the vote went against because we have to look after the players. This season is the most demanding season of all.

“I can see the point why clubs voted against but if you take a step back and think about these professional footballers and their mental and physical health the only sensible solution would have been to give us the opportunity to rest a few more.”

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