Rangers and their fellow Premiership clubs will be asked to vote on whether or not each team should be permitted to make five substitutions per match during the 2020/21 league season.
The plan for a vote was announced by the SPFL in an update on Friday afternoon.
SPFL Board Update, 24th July 2020.
— SPFL (@spfl) July 24, 2020
Footballing authorities have already made the call to increase the number of permitted substitutions in League Cup and Challenge Cup matches and the SPFL board has ventured to recommend that the same rule amendment be made for the upcoming Premiership campaign.
The change would require support from at least 75% (9) of top-flight clubs to pass, with votes to be cast sometime over the next week in order to ensure a decision is reached prior to the opening round of fixtures.
Major competitions such as the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga all increased the number of substitutions available to managers upon the resumption of fixtures following enforced breaks due to the global health crisis.
“With a more compressed fixture calendar than we are used to, the Board approved the use of five substitutes in our cup competitions primarily out of a concern for player welfare,” said SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster [SPFL.co.uk]. “With teams expected to play more frequently and with shorter periods for recovery, the use of additional players in matches will help clubs spread the load throughout the season.”
“It is also hoped that this amendment will assist player development, allowing more young players to get experience of competitive senior football during the 2020/21 season.
“The proposal will now go to Premiership clubs to vote on. A resolution to this effect will be circulated to the Scottish Premiership clubs shortly.”
It’s unsure which way Rangers will go but theoretically, increasing the number of permitted substitutions is beneficial to teams with greater squad depth.
Steven Gerrard has been criticised at times during his time at Ibrox for an apparent reluctance to look to the bench, but this law change would give him greater powers to effect change mid-game if things aren’t going well.
It’s also possible that the extra substitutions could see promising youngsters such as Nathan Patterson and Kai Kennedy given more regular runouts, especially in games where victory has been sealed with plenty of time left to spare.