The Premier League's elite sides were defeated in their attempt to implement the use of five substitutes per game for the 2020-'21 season at a shareholding meeting yesterday, with 11 of the 20 clubs voting against the proposal.
The vote emphatically failed to reach the threshold of 14 needed to make the law change - with opposition from clubs outside the elite who felt it would hand an unfair advantage to the wealthier clubs with bigger squads.
Having reluctantly agreed to the measure for the purpose of player welfare during Project Restart, the majority wanted to go back to three substitutes. There was a 10-10 tie in the vote to increase match-day squads to 20 - nine substitutes - and therefore squads will stay at 18, as they were before Project Restart.
Among the 20 clubs in the meeting were the promoted teams: Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham. All are understood to have voted to return to three substitutes and a bench of seven players rather than the nine in place for the end of the last season.
It was a blow for clubs such as Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, who have been keen to keep the five substitutes.
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