Teams will now be allowed to make 3 substitute changes with seven in the bench Credit: Premier League/ Twitter

Premier League will no longer allow teams to make five substitute changes per game as it used to earlier, in the upcoming 2020-21 season. At the Premier League’s annual general meeting on Thursday, clubs voted to reject five substitutes being allowed per game and wanted it to be reverted to three substitutes per game.

As many as 11 out of 20 clubs, including Premier League’s new boys, Leeds, voted against having five substitutes. The clubs agreed to use up to three substitute players per match, with a maximum of seven substitutes on the bench.

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The clubs also unanimously approved the implementation of the video assistant referee (VAR), in line with the full FIFA protocol for the upcoming season. With FIFA making it clear that VAR needs to be implemented universally across all leagues, Premier League had no choice other than falling in line.

The new protocol will see an increased use of the Referee Review Area (pitchside monitors) as compared to the usage of the same in the technology’s debut campaign. This will be used specifically for decisions on goals, red cards, and penalty kicks.

There will be no level of tolerance on goalkeeper encroachment for penalty kicks, as this will now be fully enforced by the VAR system, so even if a keeper is marginally off his line, retakes will be ordered.

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The protocol will continue to have no tolerance levels for offsides, meaning the finest of margins will have an impact on the decisions. However, the assistant referees will be keeping the flag down for tight marginal offside offenses, which they had been raising in the last season.

They can raise the flag only after a goal-scoring opportunity is complete.

FIFA’s say on the Premier League’s interpretation of the defensive handball law via VAR would be an interesting one to watch out for, as the Premier League’s version of the same is quite different from every other major league and competition adopting the VAR.

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