Championship clubs set to vote on mid-season rule change after Michael O’Neill campaign


Championship clubs could cock a snook at the Premier League and reintroduce a temporary rule to allow five substitutes.

Michael O’Neill has led the call for managers to be allowed to make more changes in a season when fixtures are being squeezed into a month shorter schedule than normal, backed by sports scientists who point to heightened risk of injury.

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke joined forces, arguing that match day squads should be set at 20, adding: “I think I am allowed to speak now and highlight the safety and quality and health of the game.”

Now, at an EFL board meeting today, clubs across the division have been able to signal they would welcome a change. A vote is expected to be held before the return to action following the international break.

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Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp had made similar statements but Premier League chief executive Richard Masters this week suggested that the debate had already been heard and rejected.

He said: “There’s a real issue there and it has been discussed at length. I don’t foresee it changing in the foreseeable future.”

Stoke have played every weekend and mid-week since late August and have 14 games to squeeze into 42 days when they re-start.

O’Neill said last week: “I’m at a loss really why we decided changing to three substitutions from five, which we had post-lockdown.

“The schedule of the games is the same. It’s arguably greater to be honest and that’s only going to continue.

“Why we were permitted to have five substitutions for nine games at the end of last season and with the match at Watford with league and cup games we are already 14 into this one and no longer allowed that.

“We’ve played every mid-week since the start of the season.

“It would help the players, it would help the managers and I think it would be better for the game in terms of players being fresher to play.”





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