Michael O’Neill has been warned that a change to the substitutes rule is not expected this season.
The Stoke City manager had been joined by Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in calls to increase the maximum number of changes per game from three to five, as had been allowed during the restart to last season.
Stoke are playing every mid-week and weekend from the end of August until the start of January, barring international breaks, and sports scientists have highlighted the increased risk of muscle injuries due to inevitably increased fatigue.
But Premier League clubs and the EFL voted at the start of the season to return to three subs, in contrast to other leagues around Europe, and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters insists he does not see that changing ‘for the foreseeable future’.
The EFL board will meet on Thursday to discuss the game’s current biggest issues.
Masters said in an appearance at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee: “We went to five subs during Project Restart, because there had been a long lay-off, and we were playing 92 games in short order.
“And there was clearly a case to be made for the continuation of that – in fact, most European leagues have done that.
“There is an argument to be made that five substitutes changing the competitive balance of the football match, versus the very real issues about player welfare. I think it’s a finely balanced argument.
“We’ve had two votes on it at club level and both have been relatively conclusively supportive of three subs, which has been the historic model. That has created some frustration in the system, which you are seeing.
“You can see why it is an issue for debate, particularly if you are, in Jurgen and Pep’s case, competing in Europe.”
Masters added: “There’s a real issue there and it has been discussed at length. I don’t foresee it changing in the foreseeable future.”
Stoke players are currently enjoying a few days to recharge batteries – except James McClean, Jordan Thompson and Nathan Collins, who are on international duty – ahead of a run of 13 matches in 42 days up to January 2.