Premier League players are at breaking point as frustration over the congested match list simmers.
The concerns of managers and captains were heard by the Premier League in special meetings on Thursday.
Managers and players are concerned about the number of games they have to play in quick succession over the Christmas holiday period due to the demands it is placing on teams that have been downsized due to Covid-19.
They feel they are being placed in an impossible position because they were asked to play three games between Santo Stefano and January 2.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola raised the possibility of players going on strike over welfare issues during his press conference on Wednesday, though he immediately downplayed the suggestion.
He said, “The players and the managers should all be together and go on a strike, or something, because just through words won’t it be resolved?
“I do not believe [there will be a strike] because we want to play, we want to continue, to please the people who will go to the stadium on 26, 27, 29, 31 and 1 [January]and we play because we like it.
“I’m not saying there is a reason to go on strike but (there are) more matches and more matches and fewer holidays. It’s a problem.”
Transparency desired on the referral protocol
At the center of the matches also the protocol for the postponement of league matches.
The managers wanted clarification and transparency as to why some matches are canceled while others go on.
They want to make sure all clubs are treated equally when decisions are made about which matches are postponed.
As for the Premier League board of directors, it has been made clear that they cannot make subjective decisions on which matches are postponed, as per the league handbook.
The top-flight clubs agreed in September last year that no permission will be granted to postpone a league match where the applicant team has 14 or more players listed on the list of available teams.
Clubs are expected to use adequately experienced Under-21 players. This will include any Under 21 player who has made a first team appearance for the club, another Premier League or EFL club, or an overseas club.
The Premier League will publish a fan guide that will clearly explain their match postponement protocol.
Many want the return of five divers
Many coaches want to be able to use five substitutes again and want replays and cup matches to be canceled.
The rest of the top European leagues continued to allow teams to make five substitutions in one match, a rule introduced at the start of the pandemic around the world.
Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are among the coaches who want to be able to use two more substitutes again immediately, and Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick is the latest manager to publicly support the change.
“The five replacements were implemented when Covid started, and I think it was the right decision to do it to save players energy, especially if they have just recovered from Covid,” Rangnick said, ahead of the Monday night football match against Newcastle, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
“The same is true right now – we are in a similar situation to what we had a year and a half ago, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be as it was a year and a half ago. ‘England is the only country where they only allow three subtitles.
“I think it would be of great help to have five substitutes. I would be much more in favor of having five substitutes. I think we should seriously think about it again. Most of the players would be in favor of that.”