Teams in the EFL will be able to make five substitutions per match from the next round of games.
Football’s law-making body, the International Football Association Board, announced in July that the five replacements rule would extend into 2020-21. However, it was up to individual competitions whether they adopted it.
The Premier League is the only major European top-flight division which does not allow five changes per match this season. The Champions League, Europa League and international fixtures also permit five substitutes.
The proposal has twice failed to secure the 14-club majority needed to be adopted for the new season. Last year, a vote to use five subs during the final two months of the delayed 2019-20 campaign was supported.
England manager Gareth Southgate suggested “something has to give” as Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson withdrew from the England squad because of fitness concerns. Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has also suffered a serious knee injury.
However, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters confirmed he was not expecting a change “in the foreseeable future” when he gave evidence at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee session last week.
Nevertheless, the EFL has announced that the board has passed a motion in support of the use of additional substitutes.
Under the new regulations, Championship teams will be able to make five changes from a pool of nine substitutes. Clubs in League One and League Two, meanwhile, will be able to make any five subs from seven.
The changes will come into force from November 20. That will be in time for Coventry’s Championship match against Birmingham and the League Two fixture between Mansfield and Colchester on Friday night.
EFL statement confirms changes
A statement from the EFL confirmed the decision. It read: “Following consultation with clubs, the EFL board has agreed to increase the permitted number of substitutes to five in all Sky Bet EFL fixtures taking place from 12 noon on Friday 20 November for the remainder of the 2020/21 season.
“Regulation 33.4 has been amended to permit Championship clubs to name up to nine substitutes in their matchday squad, with five permitted to take to the pitch in any fixture.
“League One and League Two clubs can name up to seven substitutes in their match day squad, again with five permitted to take to the pitch.”
The PA news agency understands these regulation changes apply to matches in the EFL only. There is no decision yet on the Carabao Cup.
In line with IFAB decisions, each team only has a maximum of three opportunities to make substitutions during the game. That does not include the half-time break.
The current EFL board directives will expire at the end of February 2021. A proposal should arrive in due course to formalise the changes until the end of the current campaign.
IFAB’s football and technical panels will likely consider next week whether to recommend extending the five substitutes dispensation beyond 2021.