Premier League: New match rules ahead of English football’s return

The Premier League have confirmed new measures and rules in place ahead of the season’s resumption this week.

England’s top-flight is set to recommence on Wednesday with Sheffield United taking on Aston Villa in what will be the first competitive game since the COVID-19 pandemic brought professional sport to a half earlier this year.

As reported by Manchester Evening News, the Premier League have now issued both clubs and fans with guidelines outlining how the game will look once resumed. The measures include guidelines for stadiums, travelling to and from grounds, the use of stadium tunnels and VAR.


Top-flight clubs are being encouraged to only operate with essential stadium staff in place. The stadium’s personnel will be broken into three areas: red, amber and green.

Red zone personnel will consist of team’s players and coaching staff with a maximum of 37 ‘red zone’ individuals allowed.

Similarly, the ‘amber zone’ and ‘green zone’ authorised personnel will consist of media, press and other related individuals.

The total number of individuals allowed inside stadiums, including players is believed to be 300.


All current COVID-19 screening measures shall remain in place with players given the option to travel to and from games by private car, train or plane, however, they must do so in sterile environments.

Players and coaching staff will be reminded that they must adhere to the government’s social distancing regulations at all time, remaining at least 2 metres from others.

Should game attending individuals opt to travel by car, they must do so alone.

Entering the Field of Play

Tunnel walkouts are set to be staggered with players and officials distanced from one another.

There will also be no handshakes or other previously usual pre-match contact.

During the Matches

All players and coaching staff must remain as socially distanced as possible including during goal celebrations.

Players will not be allowed to spit or clear their nose, nor will they be allowed to surround match officials during moments of frustration.

The Premier League have also introduced a short, one minute water break at the midway point of each half. Players must drink from their own bottle and cannot redistribute among others, including staff members.

The league has also adopted the same approach as their European counter-parts by introducing a five substitution rule.

Teams will now have the option to make five substitutions, as opposed to the standard three, however, teams will only be allowed a maximum of three opportunities to make substitutions, not including half-time.


VAR will remain in place in much the same way it was prior to the league’s suspension. VAR operating officials shall remain at Stockley Park with no interruption to their usual duties – Sorry, football fans.

Manchester United’s first competitive match back will be against fellow top-four hopefuls Spurs, on June 19.

READ MORE: Manchester United set to miss out on German target as Bayern Munich become front runners
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