Drinks breaks will continue – so goalposts can be disinfected
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.