PREM managers have urged league bosses to do a U-turn over five substitutes.
In a stunning reversal of their stance, 15 of the 20 top-flight bosses agreed at a virtual meeting that the Prem should revert to having extra substitutes AND a bigger bench.
Six managers confirmed they had switched their stance on the issue, now agreeing the risks to player safety given the congested schedule justified the change of heart.
West Ham’s David Moyes has already gone public in conceding he had altered his stance.
SunSport understands that among the other managers who believed the rules need to be changed were Crystal Palace’s Roy Hodgson, Brendan Rodgers of Leicester and Wolves chief Nuno Espirito Santo.
And it will put extra pressure on club chiefs to vote for the rule change they have already vetoed TWICE this season when the matter goes back on the virtual boardroom table, potentially as soon as next week.
The virtual meeting of the top flight gaffers, also attended by League bosses, and the League Managers’ Association, saw Big Six managers leading the argument, which was backed up by the PFA.
All 20 managers were asked to give their personal views so that the clear feelings of the entire top flight were known.
The catalogue of injuries sustained by many clubs over the past month, including the international break, plus the current heightened Covid-19 wave, was a key part of the debate.
Managers were also aware that they were meeting just hours after the EFL Board confirmed last week’s vote by clubs to allow five substitutes from a nine-player bench from this weekend.
And now it seems the Prem is likely to follow suit and end its status as the only major competition in Europe to have gone back to three replacements from seven on the bench.
Prem clubs agreed to allow the extra substitutes during Project Restart in June and July.
But while the Big Six were strongly in favour of extending the move into this season, clubs voted 11-9 against a proposal tabled by Chelsea before the start of the new campaign.
A second vote was defeated by the same margin in September, with proponents five votes short of the 14-6 majority required.
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith was one of the loudest voices against the plan, arguing that it gave the bigger clubs an unfair advantage because of the depth of their squads.
Smith and Newcastle’s Steve Bruce are among those believed to have stood their ground during the meeting.
And SunSport can also reveal that major European leagues and Uefa are urging Lawmakers at the International FA Board and Fifa to make the five substitute limit a permanent change in the Laws of the game from next season.
At the moment, it is only a temporary measure through to the end of the season but it is expected the push will see Ifab vote in favour of extending it indefinitely at its annual general meeting in March.
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