It means Barnsley, Bradford City, Doncaster Rovers, Harrogate Town, Huddersfield Town, Hull City, Middlesbrough, Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday will be able to make two extra changes in league games, at least until the end of February.
Leading top-flight managers such as Manchester City's Pep Guardiola and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp have been arguing the Premier League should allow its clubs to do likewise, as they can in European competition. This week England manager Gareth Southgate joined the calls.
But changes can only be made with a two-thirds majority of clubs, and many in the division are opposed on the grounds it will give an unfair advantage to the top sides, with their larger squads.
The change was made temporarily in last season's Premier League, Championship and lower-league play-offs to guard against injuries because of the concentration of matches after a long lay-off because of the first coronavirus lockdown, despite opposition from the likes of Sheffield United. Most major leagues in Europe have continued it this season after being allowed to do so by Fifa, but the English have resisted.
A shorter summer break, quicker-than-normal pre-season and truncated season have been followed by a spate of injuries.
Knocked out of the League Cup at the first hurdle, Leeds United and Sheffield United have only had one game a week for much of 2020-21 so far, but when the European competitions go on hold for the winter, their schedules will step up.
For Football League clubs – particularly those in Leagues One and Two who do not automatically take international breaks off – the schedule is unrelenting all season. Bradford City, for example, have already played 17 matches in a season which is not yet 11 weeks old. As well as league matches, they have also played in the FA and League Cups, and Football League Trophy.
The Football League has now changed its rules to allow Championship clubs to name a 20-man matchday squad, whilst those in Leagues One and Two will still be limited to 18, but all can bring on five players in a league game. As in the resumed season, teams are limited to three in-play windows, plus half-time, to make changes, so they will have to make multiple substitutions during at least one of those opportunities to bring all five replacements on.
The changes apply immediately, and will be reviewed on February 28.
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