PFA chief Gordon Taylor is personally wading in to the Premier League’s mounting injury crisis and has urged league bosses to over-rule the clubs who have decided in favour of not using five substitutes.
The English top flight has declined to follow the rest of Europe and has reverted back to just permitting three subs per match, despite the end of last season allowing five following Project Restart.
Injuries have been mounting up across the division as a result, with muscle strains and tears now becoming more common than ever before..
Now, Taylor has addressed a letter to the Premier League bosses stating that they must act immediately and allow teams to begin using five substitutes.
In the letter which was addressed to Premier League chief Richard Masters, reported by the Sun, Taylor insists the ruling is paramount in the interests of player welfare and health and safety’ and must be introduced ‘with immediate effect’.
The letter has since been forwarded on to each of the 20 teams who make up the top flight division.
Taylor wrote: ‘We have been very concerned, and remain so, about the physical load on players who are now frequently required to play every two or three days or so.
‘The physical load on players is therefore hugely increased and the consequent fatigue that players are currently experiencing is leading to avoidable and distressing injuries.
I note that Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton and Leeds United were all impacted by early injuries during last weekend’s fixtures.
‘A further 11 Premier League clubs have players unavailable due to problems that might reasonably be attributed to physical load and fatigue.
Taylor’s concerns will be music to the ears of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who has repeatedly stressed a need for common sense to be used and for squads to be given more protection through additional subs.
Speaking last month to Sportsmail’s Jamie Redknapp, Klopp had said: ‘We need it. For the players, not the clubs. December and January in a normal season is brutal. We know that.
‘But this year, for the Champions League and Europa League clubs, October is like December. November is like December. December is still December, then January, then February.’
Premier League clubs held votes in August and again in September after proposals to extend the extra substitution rules into the current campaign.
Both votes were rejected by 11 votes to nine, well short of the 14-club majority required.
On December 3 another meeting of the top tier clubs was held, but no representatives from any club chose to bring the matter back up and once again put it to a second vote.