Drinks breaks will con­tinue – so goal­posts can be dis­in­fected

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Premier League - By Ja­son Burt

The Pre­mier League will con­tinue with drinks breaks in matches, af­ter it was re­vealed they were in­tro­duced to dis­in­fect equip­ment.

The breaks have been con­tro­ver­sial, with some man­agers sug­gest­ing they have be­come noth­ing more than a tac­ti­cal time-out.

It had been thought the pri­mary rea­son for adopt­ing them was for play­ers, work­ing to­wards match fit­ness af­ter the three-month lay-off, to take on vi­tal flu­ids dur­ing sum­mer weather. The breaks are sched­uled for nat­u­ral pauses in the ac­tion mid­way through each half.

How­ever, the over­rid­ing rea­son for us­ing them is as part of the pro­to­cols in­tro­duced to com­plete the sea­son. Those pro­to­cols dic­tate that equip­ment such as goal­posts and cor­ner flags needed to be dis­in­fected dur­ing matches. Staff walk around the pitch with spray while the drinks breaks take place.

The fact the weather has been colder has frus­trated pun­dits, who have called for the breaks to be stopped be­cause they in­ter­rupt the flow of games. At the same time some man­agers, such as Liver­pool’s Jur­gen Klopp, have said they like the breaks be­cause they give them a chance to talk to their play­ers.

Sh­effield United’s Chris Wilder and Burn­ley’s Sean Dy­che are among those who say they are un­nec­es­sary and have di­vided the games into four quar­ters.

There is an ex­pec­ta­tion that the drinks breaks will be scrapped for next sea­son but they could re­main as long as coro­n­avirus is a threat.

Mean­while, the di­rec­tors of the

In­ter­na­tional Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion Board, which gov­erns the laws of the game, were meet­ing yes­ter­day via video link to de­cide on whether to al­low five sub­sti­tutes per team, or re­vert to three for 2020-21.

The tem­po­rary change was pro­posed by Fifa and was adopted to help teams man­age player work­load. The like­li­hood is that it will be ex­tended for next sea­son.

It will be at the dis­cre­tion of in­di­vid­ual com­pe­ti­tions whether they choose to adopt the amend­ment, but it is likely to be adopted by the Pre­mier League.

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