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Premier League Teams to Be Permitted Five Substitutions When Football Season Resumes

The English top-flight clubs will return to action on 17 June behind closed doors, after being postponed for three months due to the health and safety threat posed by the spread of COVID-19 within the UK and the rest of the world.

According to BBC Sport, at the latest 'Project Restart' meeting, teams agreed to allow five substitutions to be made during the course of a match, as opposed to the usual three, in order to compensate for potential reduced fitness levels of players following the hiatus.

Clubs will also be permitted to have nine potential substitutes on the bench, instead of the usual seven.

Fans were quick to react to the news on Twitter:

​Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live on Tuesday, Newcastle United’s club doctor, Paul Catterson, expressed concerns about the increased potential of injury that players face once the season gets back underway, despite that an increased number of substitutions could help offset any risk.

“We are expecting more injuries at this time. The players have been running on treadmills and working indoors for eight weeks so that transition is a different stimulus for the body. We have had players asking if they can have ice baths after training and they can't at the moment - all we can do is give them ice to take home. It's like going back 15 years,” Catterson said.

In the same interview, the club doctor did, however, outline his belief that Premier League clubs are stringently following Westminster’s health and safety protocols.

“I am confident now that a Premier League training ground is one of the safest environments around. There is a big onus on the players; they have to conduct themselves professionally outside of this environment. We are only as strong as our weakest link. If anyone doesn't follow the guidance they put the group at risk. So far we have had no positive results and we can only do that if we stop the players from being complacent,” the club doctor added.

Other issues, such as whether relegations would be enforced, should a second spike in UK coronavirus infection rates occur and the season has to again be curtailed, await a decision among the Premier League sides.

Clubs in the division will vote on the matter in coming weeks, according to reports.

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