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SPFL Statement: Use of Five Subs

Wed, 30th Sep 2020 12:38pm

On 30 July 2020, the SPFL announced that Premiership clubs had voted to approve the use of up to five substitutes in Premiership matches this season. On 24 July 2020, the SPFL Board approved the use of up to five substitutes in Betfred Cup and Challenge Cup ties this season.

On 2 September 2020, the SPFL circulated a series of written resolution to all clubs, regarding the possible use of five substitutes in Championship, League 1 and League 2 matches, as well as play-off matches. Each divisional resolution required approval by 75% or more of clubs in the relevant Division. The resolution regarding Play-Offs required approval from 75% or more of clubs in the Premiership, 75% or more of clubs in the Championship, and 75% or more of all League 1 and League 2 clubs. 

The 28-day deadline for returns has now passed. The SPFL can now announce that League 1 and League 2 clubs approved the use of up to five substitutes this season.  However, Championship clubs rejected the change. 

The number of returns approving the change was as follows:

Competition Number of returns needed to approve the use of five substitutes Number of returns actually received in favour, within the 28-day period Approved or not
Championship 8/10 3/10 No
League 1 8/10 9/10 Yes
League 2 8/10 10/10 Yes
Play-Offs  9/12, 8/10 & 15/20 8/12, 4/10, 19/20 No

As a result, the following rules regarding the use of substitutes in SPFL matches will be in place this season:

  • Premiership - up to five substitutes
  • Championship - up to three substitutes
  • League 1 - up to five substitutes
  • League 2 - up to five substitutes 
  • all Play-Off matches - up to three substitutes (one additional in any extra time) 
  • Betfred Cup matches - up to five substitutes (one additional in any extra time)
  • Challenge Cup matches - up to five substitutes (one additional in any extra time) 

A spokesman for the SPFL said: "In line with last season, FIFA has allowed each league to determine its own rules regarding the use of substitutes for Season 2020/21, due to Covid-19. As a members’ organisation, it is important that the clubs in each Division decide issues such as this for themselves.”"

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