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Not April Fools! Premier League finally approve five substitutes

Triumph of common sense

Derby County v Chelsea - Capital One Cup Quarter-Final
Richard Keogh would never believe it
Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Mark Leech Sports Photography/Getty Images

Technically this was announced on March 31, but by the time my busy lazy ass has gotten around to writing about it, it’s now April 1 around most of the world. April Fools is one of the most insufferable days of the year, so instead of idiotic pranks, let’s celebrate a small victory for common sense!

Starting next season, the Premier League will finally allow the use of 5 substitutes from the 9 named, just like most of the rest of the football world have been doing for the past couple years. This feature, which is a natural evolution of how substitutes have been used in the professional game since their introduction in 1958 (just 1 at the time; expanded to 3 in 1995), gained prominence during the pandemic, but most leagues wisely decided to keep it for good after FIFA approved it to be more than just a temporary fixture-congestion easement. The Premier League voted it down twice in 2020, and again in 2021, but finally the majority have seen the light.

The league also approved a standard summer transfer window (June 10 — September 1) and removed most of the remaining COVID restrictions including mandatory twice-weekly testing. Only “symptomatic testing” will be conducted as necessary with the league returning to “business-as-usual”. Life finds a way!