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Friday, July 15, 2011

Football: Premier League amends rules after selection rows

LONDON: The English Premier League on Friday moved to end the controversy over clubs fielding weakened sides by announcing managers will be free to pick any combination of players from their 25-man squads next season.

Both Blackpool and Wolves have fallen foul of Premier League rule E.20, which states that "in every league match, each participating club shall field a full-strength team".

The league has now relaxed the rule, meaning managers will be free to choose from their senior squad and, if need be, their additional pool of "home-grown" Under-21 talent.

They could still be punished, however, if they are deemed to have selected too many younger players from outside their 25-man squad.

Blackpool were fined £25 000 last season after making 10 changes for a match at Aston Villa before reverting to their supposedly stronger line-up for a trip to relegation rivals West Ham in their next game.

In December 2009, Wolves were hit with a suspended fine after making 10 changes at Manchester United, where they lost 3-0, before returning to a more experienced team to beat Burnley in their next fixture.

A spokesman for the Premier League said: "The clubs voted at the last Premier League Annual General Meeting to modify the rule regarding clubs fielding full strength teams (E.20).

"From 2011/12 onwards the rule will allow any combination of players included in a club's 25-man squad list to be selected for a Premier League fixture.

"The 25-man squad rules do allow clubs to pick Under-21 players beyond those named in their squad list and, with this in mind, it was agreed by the clubs that it was appropriate for the rule to remain in place in order to ensure the integrity of the competition."

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