The reintroduction of five substitutions in the Premier League will benefit both the big clubs and the small clubs, according to former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell.
The rule was first trialled at the end of the 2019/20 season, when matches were played during June and July after a three-month Covid hiatus.
Despite the recommendation from IFAB to make the law permanent, the Premier League was the only top European league to return to three subs for the 2020/21 season, despite the concerns raised by a number of managers, such as Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, over player fatigue.
The rebuttal to this has been that three subs protects competitive balance, as the better, wealthier sides can bring less talent off the bench. As manager of Burnley, a club with one of the smallest budgets in the Premier League, Sean Dyche has been vocal in his opposition to a rule change, saying earlier this week: “My point has always been for the smaller clubs like ourselves, it’s a bigger challenge because [the better] teams can rotate so easily.”
Dyche’s comments came after the announcement from the Premier League that five subs would be reintroduced from the start of next season, with the league citing the need for “players to perform at the best”.
The move has been criticised in some quarters for the reasons given by Dyche, but according to Campbell, it’s not just the bigger clubs that will be aided by additional subs.
“It could give those big sides an advantage,” he told Football Insider. “But it could just as easily give the smaller sides a helping hand as well. I think it balances itself out.
“Look, biggest sides have the best weapons on the bench – the likes of Liverpool and Man City are the best examples of that.
“They can fill that bench with match-winners. But I think with five substitutes, it will help the smaller sides too.
“When you’re playing away at a place like Anfield, getting fresh bodies on will help. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing well or badly – it could change the game in your favour.
“Listen, it’s swings and roundabouts – I’m not complaining.”
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