Oh, look another article about the return of the Premier League. We will milk that content cow dry.
The glorious Premier League return has brought with it a few new rules. Most notable the new five substitute rule and the addition of water breaks. It’s the latter rule I would like to have a quick chat about today.
Understandably new Covid-19 protocols were introduced upon the return of the Premier League. Sanitised footballs and mid game sanitation of goalposts, nets and corner flags will happen at all games. The new five sub rule will hopefully prevent injuries. More subs available to managers mean more opportunities to take players off for a rest. This will come in handy for the congested fixture schedule ahead.
Look I’m not saying I have an issue with the water breaks. That would just be a stupid argument to make. I’m simply saying that now the teething process is out of the way let’s make some tweaks.
These water breaks were implemented as a measure to help players returning from the three-month break. Especially now that they will be playing games in the middle of summer. With Britain expected to see high temperatures in June and July.
The breaks have also been handled very well. Players are handed a designated bottle to avoid any unnecessary contact.
However, the use of these breaks needs to be decided on a match by match basis. We have all seen games since the return been played in blistering heat. These are the games the water breaks were brought in for. Rightfully so too.
We have also seen games been played in the rain and general dull sky which tends to happen in England. These are the games that these water breaks just become a hindrance. They completely kill the momentum of the game. Which these water breaks do anyway but you can understand it when its sunny.
I was watching Manchester United’s first game back away to Tottenham. Its was bucketing down with rain on that given day. Yet we still had to stop the game around the halfway mark of each half for a drinks break. It was just a time out for managers to organise their team.
If they aren’t needed on a given day don’t use them. I know from my own footballing days you don’t need a drink every 20 minutes in bad weather. If you need one run over and get one when the play is stopped. We don’t need to be bringing the whole game to a halt for some water in the rain.
Officials should have the freedom to make a call on them depending on the day. If they arrive to the stadium and its warm and sunny go ahead with them. Yet If its overcast or especially raining they aren’t necessary.
When they defeat their purpose, they just become a glorified time out. Which is what we have half time breaks for. Some football games can be slow enough at the best of times. We don’t need unnecessary stoppages slowing things either more.
We don’t want to be turning into some of our American sport counterparts with more breaks than action. As things stand now games are being played in four quarters rather than two halves.
So just do them if necessary. They were introduced to help players. If they happen in colder or wet weather managers are the only ones getting anything out of it. On colder days you even see some players not even bothering to take any fluids on board.
Players fitness will also be getting back to its best. So, will they even be needed?
I know its only a minor issue, but they really do kill the flow of some games. It would be good to see some common sense prevail. Not against players having a basic human right. Lets just make a small change to this rule now that things are back up and running.