All of the changes coming to the Premier League in 2022/23


Players are no longer kneeling before every game and instead will take the knee on certain days this season (opening day, Boxing Day, etc.). The Premier League club captains voted for this change because they believe that doing this on certain match days – rather than every match – will help amplify the message. As a group, the Premier League captains said:

“We have decided to select significant moments to take the knee during the season to highlight our unity against all forms of racism and in so doing we continue to show solidarity for a common cause.

We remain resolutely committed to eradicate racial prejudice and to bring about an inclusive society with respect and equal opportunities for all.”

UEFA and FIFA responded by saying that they will still only fine clubs and supporters 399 Euros for any acts of overt racism from the stands.

Five subs

In a surprise move bringing the Premier League in line with the rest of world football, teams will be allowed five subs per game this season. That means that Arteta could sub Nuno on and then back off again without worrying as much about how it effects his ability to sub Nuno’s sub off. In addition to five subs, teams will be also allowed to have six grinders, three hoagies, two heroes, and one Philly Cheesesteak.

Consent training

All players will be required to undergo mandatory sexual consent training. This is a change from previous seasons where only young players were required to attend classes on consent and sexual assault. Now, every club must train every player or face fines.

The change follows meetings last season with three groups seeking to confront gender-based violence in the game. The groups are End Violence for Women, the Three Hijabis and Level Up and they wrote an open letter to Richard Masters last season asking that the Premier League and FA “confront a culture of gender-based violence” in the game by adopting four new policies:

  • Introduce mandatory training for all players, managers, coaches and owners on gender-based violence.
  • Introduce a Tackling Gender-Based Violence Charter for clubs to sign up to that sets out minimum standards for policies and action to tackle unacceptable behaviour.
  • To adopt clear sexual misconduct policies and protocols with the power to impose appropriate consequences and disciplinary action on players, from suspension without pay to lifetime bans.
  • For Academies to introduce prevention programmes for young people that take a “Whole Club Approach” to eliminating violence against women in football.

Mandatory consent training was one of the suggested actions and the one which the Premier League adopted. However there is widespread frustration that the FA (which governs the rules on suspensions and bans) has not adopted automatic suspensions for players accused of rape. Shaista Aziz, co-director of the Three Hijabis, said of the FA “It is inconsistent and inconceivable that, in 2022, you can have a high-profile footballer accused of these very serious crimes and his employer says: ‘It’s OK, he can carry on going to work.’ It’s outrageous, and it completely goes against the grain of our open letter.”

I strongly agree with this statement and with the work of these three groups to help put an end to gender-based violence in football.


For those of us who have watched any other country play football, it’s been a source of mirth that in the Premier League, when the ball is hoofed out of play – which is often – players stand around and demand the same ball back. It has been a terrific time-wasting tactic for clubs like Bolton and Burnley down the years but with both of them out of the Premier League, it seems to have been retired and starting in 2022, the Premier League will have 8 balls stationed around the pitch on cones, just waiting to be used. In addition, the fourth official will have a ball and if a player is able to ping a shot off the fourth official then all of the balls will be released at the same time and teams will have to play with 10 balls until all balls go out of touch again. Hence the name “multi-ball”.

One foot behind the line

Last season goal-keepers were required to keep one foot on the line during penalties. This season they will be required to have one foot behind the line at the moment of impact during penalties. Though this may seem counter intuitive the new rule is supposed to help keepers by allowing them a run-up during a penalty kick.

Howard Webb

Mike Riley is supposedly retiring as director of PGMOB (the body which governs officials in the Premier League) in December and Howard Webb is taking over.

Webb is famous for incorrectly sending off Emmanuel Adebayor in the 2007 League Cup final against Chelsea. Eboue seemed to sort of steam in on Wayne Briodge who pretended he’d been punched and Howard Webb immediately sent off Adebayor. Adebayor reacted furiously and refused to leave the pitch in a timely fashion. Adebayor’s suspension was upheld, however, after a report by the linesman said that Adebayor punched Frank Lampard (a different incident). Arsene Wenger later got in trouble for calling the report “a complete lie” and asking for Lampard to publicly state whether he’d been punched or not. Lampard confirmed that he had not, in fact, been punched by Adebayor.

Webb is also famous for the World Cup final debacle between Spain and the Netherlands in which Nigel de Jong kung-fu kicked Xabi Alonso in the chest in the opening few minutes of the match as Webb looked directly at the action. De Jong later said that maybe his personal relationship with Webb (de Jong played in the Premier League at the time) helped as he told the referee “listen, it was accidental, don’t make such a big decision so early in the game.” Webb showed de Jong a yellow card which then set the tone for one of the most brutal World Cup finals since any match that Maradona played in. Seriously, you have to watch clips of Maradona, the man was targeted with egregious fouls, which were egregious even for their time.

Webb’s record as referee in Arsenal matches is among the most curious of any referee. In 39 games he awarded Arsenal just two penalties and both times he also awarded the opponent a penalty (Arsenal 6-2 win over Blackburn and the infamous 8-2 loss to Man U). He also awarded Arsenal’s opponents 7 penalties and dished out 6 red cards against Arsenal players and just two against opposition players.

Of all the referees of the last 20 years, he’s the one who I think of as most like Mike Riley. So, as The Who once said, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

As of this report, Webb’s wife will also serve on the board as the Women’s Select Group Director.



  1. Regarding that final note, it might be worth mentioning that Howard Webb’s wife (Bibiana Steinhaus) is a known and respected (former?) referee in her own right (curiously, like her husband, she has also had a police career). Written as is, there’s an implication of some form of favoritism in her position.

  2. “In addition to five subs, teams will be also allowed to have six grinders, three hoagies, two heroes, and one Philly Cheesesteak”.


    It didnt start out as one of your posts on food 😀

    Anyway, to Webb and co… are there gooners out there who like EPL refs or think they’re competent?

    Type N for “No”
    And A for “are you out of your freaking mind?”

    VAR has helped some, but it is still weighted to protecting referees rather than outcomes. Hopefully, this is the season they get it right, and it doesnt cost us. Please dont say “it evens itself out in the end”

  3. “there is widespread frustration that the FA (which governs the rules on suspensions and bans) has not adopted automatic suspensions for players accused of rape.”

    would such suspensions at the point of allegation be legal?

    from a practical standpoint, it seems like the accused might be able to file suit and win substantial judgements against their employer and/or the body approving the suspensions (not clear if this would be the league or the fa or what), should the accusations not be substantiated and proven in a court of law.

    from an ethical standpoint it seems even trickier – on one hand, we know that sexual offenses often go unpunished, with many events never even being reported to authorities, few of the reported events resulting in formal charges, and even fewer in convictions. this is a completely unacceptable situation that requires urgent rectification. beyond that, allowing alleged sexual abusers to continue working with colleagues seems like it might be placing those colleagues at risk. at the same time, people accused of crimes have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. treating someone as if their guilt has been established based on accusations is contrary to that principle.

    it’s not at all clear to me how institutions in general or football teams in particular can best balance these competing imperatives. i’m glad it’s not my job to figure this out, and i don’t envy the people whose job it is.

    1. 1. we should not hide behind what is “legal” or not legal – a lot of things are legal which are deeply unethical and inhumane – the question is what the ethical position is. In this case the ethical thing is to not play the player even if you have to keep paying him and can’t make any statements about him
      2. suspensions without pay, I’m not sure. I do know that a lot of players have been put on a leave of absence during the investigation phase of the UK legal system and well before any charges have been filed. I imagine the club could be held liable if the person was innocent, however… who cares if we have to pay off someone’s salary because of an accusation like this and they are subsequently found to be innocent? We pay off player’s salaries all the time, especially at Arsenal, for significantly less heinous alleged offences. I think the bigger problem is what if we spend 6 months playing a player and giving him man of the match awards and he is found guilty or even worse, commits MORE offenses? T
      3. I think what the groups listed above are asking for is for the FA to change the rules and for clubs to insert clauses in players’ contracts which stipulate certain effects if sexual assault is alleged.

      1. Tim,
        From the last post, do forward my gmail address to Lonestar. Please and thank you.
        Lonestar – I’ll look for your suggestions – thanks in advance.

      2. Maybe we can go ahead and accuse all the vital players of a rival club before a key match of rape and have them temporarily suspended.
        As a victim of false accusation myself, I think it’s not ethical to suspend anyone based on any allegation especially in this twisted entitled world of ours today.
        If the person is investigated and indicted, then suspend. It’s still innocent until proven guilty.
        I still have deep scars from my experience 22 years after.

        1. This is an emotionally wrecking topic, but I’m still kind of shocked by the suggestions here.

          We have legal systems and humans rights built up over hundreds of years that people are suggesting football clubs overturn instead themselves playing Judge, Jury and Executioner?!! Again, we want a football club – a corporation – to usurp our legal system and human rights??

          No matter how damning the evidence and egregious it might seem, a basic tenet of western democracy and human rights is that you are innocent until proven guilty. And sometimes seemingly guilty people still get off on a technicality. But that is because we have a strong and clear legal system, which recognises that innocent people are sometimes wrongly accused and therefore allows them a trial by their peers. Upend that principle and society is going to have far greater problems than deciding whether a paid professional should be performing his duties.

          Like Joe says, I wouldn’t want to be the person in the Club / employer having to handle the matter / figure it out, but suspending players based on an accusation is counter to fundamental Western ideals and freedoms. You want to support a team / league that does that then go support eg a Chinese team.

          1. Nah, it’s not against our ideals at all. Almost no one is saying that Gylfi Sigurddson should be playing football right now. No one is saying an accused rapist goes straight to jail or that he’s executed. No one is upending the principle of the supposed rule of law (which is a farce and doesn’t tell us anything about morality). I think what people are saying is that he shouldn’t play for the team.

            Clubs decide all the time that they don’t want to play a player for myriad little reasons, being accused of rape three times is a good reason in my mind. If the opposition fans start chanting rapist and if the cloud over a player on the team gets too dark and too big and starts to effect team performance I’m guessing you all would be in favor of benching the guy.

            I’m also guessing that if this was a player people didn’t like, the calls for him being benched would be fast.

            As for your throwaway line about supporting a chinese team, I think Great Britain and the USA have a pretty appalling human rights record and corrupt legal systems. What rights did we all protect in Abu Graib? Guantanamo? Or how about the rights of assylum seekers and migrants? What rights did we protect in the Jimmy Saville case? How about the case of Bill Cosby? Our legal system tends to over-protect and over-serve the rights of the wealthy and under-serve the rights of the poor. That’s our actual morality as far as I can tell.

        2. These fantasy situations where people are going to make illegal and false accusations against players just to get them suspended are ridiculous. If the player is accused and the police arrest the player – meaning that there’s at least some evidence – then the player should be benched. That’s it, that’s the whole thing. If there are suddenly tons of false accusations, well, you all have this fabulous legal system which you believe in so much, I suppose they will have to avail themselves of that system. Just remember too that the accusers are innocent until proven guilty, right?

          1. If football performance is affected – either the team’s or the individual’s – then of course benching should be considered and potentially enacted by the manager. That is a footballing decision and a world away from unilaterally suspending the player.

            As to human rights, all I will say is I recall we had a debate when Saudi Arabia bought Newcastle. I believe your stance was very different then.

          2. You think I was in favor of Saudi Arabia? Denying that the USA has a history of human rights abuses? What exactly are you trying to gotcha me on here?

  4. I am loathe to write this, for fear of even hinting at misogyny. Let me state that I am firmly and unequivocally on the side of the accusers in sexual misconduct and assault. It’s extremely rare for people to make false accusations in these situations.

    Having said that, if players are immediately suspended when accused, it creates an opportunity for unscrupulous people to bring false charges. Bettors/ organized crime would have an incentive to accuse a key player right before an important match to swing results.

    Again, let me reiterate that the outcome of a match is in no way remotely as important as a sexual assault, but without some measure of due process it’s ripe for abuse.

    1. That would be incredibly illegal and be subject to extraordinarily high libel judgements, especially in the UK.

      I think this isn’t something people need to worry about.

      1. If the amount organized crime can make with a bet fix is significantly higher than the libel judgment, that’s an easy choice for them.

  5. Let’s not forget the time when Rio Ferdinand kung fu kicked Bacary Sagna. Same Webb. If memory serves, not even a foul called. Certainly no card.

  6. I suck at internet research. This answer is probably out there somewhere, but does the PL have personal conduct clauses for their players like the NFL and other leagues do for their players?
    Asking for a friend:)…

    1. I don’t think there’s anything preventing a PL club from inserting them and I think there have been in the past.

    2. no. in professional sports in america, they have a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) where rules are agreed upon by the players and the owners/league. in the premier league, they unilaterally decides the rules; nothing has to be agree upon by a player union/association.

  7. Five subs

    In a surprise move bringing the Premier League in line with the rest of world football, teams will be allowed five subs per game this season. That means that Arteta could sub Nuno on and then back off again without worrying as much about how it effects his ability to sub Nuno’s sub off. In addition to five subs, teams will be also allowed to have six grinders, three hoagies, two heroes, and one Philly Cheesesteak.

    Is this like a free “sub” rule?

    As a supporter of team that opponents routinely try to kick, hack, tackle, shoulder and elbow off the pitch, I like that that they’re expanding the sub rule.

  8. Helpful summary, thanks so much.

    I went back to watch the Selhurst Park game again, painful as it was, to remind myself of what we can expect tomorrow. Arsenal had a strong team, their best XI with the exception of right back and left back. Both fullback spots were exploited by CP in different ways. On the right, Zaha could physically dominate Soares and did so early and often, with CP sending searching passes into his channel at every opportunity. Once Wilf got his toe on the ball, Soares had no chance to take it off him. Meanwhile, Mateta would occupy Ben White so he could not come and double up on Zaha with Soares, while Ayew or Gallagher would make runs into the box. They almost scored a couple of times in the first few minutes with this tactic, but for some last ditch Arsenal defending.

    Meanwhile, Arsenal had a really hard time advancing the ball. In Arsenal’s half, CP committed to a full press and funelled the ball out wide, preferably Tavares’ way, daring the young Portugese to play a forward pass or advance the ball. Wisely, Nuno chose the sensible option of going backwards, but this meant recycling possession under pressure over and over again with the same cul-de-sac in the buildup. When we did try to play through the middle, Lacazette was found wanting for close control and physical competitiveness up against either the robust midfielders or center backs of the opposition. On the right, Tyrick Mitchell was a match for Saka for pace, thus nullifying Arsenal’s only reliable option over the top. Possession became stagnant and congested, and every short pass around the halfway line was a threat to trigger a Palace counter.

    Despite all this, the goals were not a result of an avalanche of irrepressible Palace attacks. The first came from a set piece, with Gallagher delivering a deep, looping ball into the back post. Andersen pushed Nuno’s head down on his way to heading it centrally, where Mateta had the easy task of planting a point blank header past Ramsdale. Nuno can feel aggrieved with the no call, but he does have to be stronger in that position as he was ball side of his man. The second came from a simple ball over the top that wasn’t dealt with. The ball got recycled back to Andersen, who pings one through towards Ayew. Gabriel gambles on the clearance but whiffs on it and Tavares is badly trailing his man, who can pick his spot from 8 yards. Not a great look for either gunners defender. From there, the game was essentially decided. Arsenal were physically inferior for this one and lacked the technical tools to get themselves back into it.

    What will change this time? Well, for one, Arsenal now have one of the best technical left backs in the world. Funnelling possession Zinny’s way will not profit Palace. Ben White is no Cancelo but he’s got ability on the ball and I don’t think he can be targeted as a source of turnovers like Nuno was. For another, Lacazette has been replaced by a spakplug forward who is constant motion in both phases and can link play as well as take the top off the defense, meaning our buildup play will be both more difficult to stop and more unpredictable, to say nothing of the press in the other phase. And then you have Ben White playing at right back and Saliba at RCB, a massive physical upgrade compared to the Soares-White combination we fielded last time out. Those three changes alone will be more than enough to tilt the odds Arsenal’s way, but they can still lose if they don’t compete physically with Palace. Zinny’s not a physically robust left back and Vieira may look to exploit that, but this encounter should be chalk and cheese to the meeting in April.

    1. And in their favor, they have Chieck Doucoure (a great DM, likened to PV4 himself) and Ebereche Eze back with Zaha actually scoring goals for the first time in his life. I won’t be at all surprised if they press us like crazy again and that this is an incredibly close game.

      1. I hope we can keep the press honest with the threat of our forwards in behind. Martinelli is a willing runner and his inclusion over Smith-Rowe helps with that. ESR can certainly stretch a defense but his main proclivity seems to be to come short and combine instead. That’s great too but there has to be a balance and threat of both so teams can’t clamp down too much on one or the other. This is also a game where the refereeing makes a big difference. A lenient referee will work in their favor as I suspect they will look to physically dominate our smaller forward line and stifle them out of the game that way.

      2. this. i was thinking that eze didn’t play that game. this will be a challenge to zinchenko. i know folks are excited for him but i don’t know if i trust him as a fullback; a bit like kolasinac. like you, i saw him as competition for xhaka. we’ll see how it all goes. i’m also excited for this game.

  9. Apologies for a side topic.
    Any Boston Gooners here? Traveling on business and would love to see the game tomorrow with fellow brothers. Cheers!

  10. If I might return the discussion to the assault charges, it is surprising that it has taken the FA and PL to wake up to the problem of exceedingly wealthy young footballers who find it difficult to control themselves in a personal situation.

    I dare say that there are ladies out there who are attracted to young wealthy players, and maybe even swarm around them in clubs and bars, looking for a good time and possibly the bounties of the player’s wealth.

    Such hangers on have been around for ages, going back to the time when footballers earned a pittance, so the attention was drawn to pop stars.

    There is every chance that the players can very easily misunderstand the intention and get carried away, especially young men both from here and also from abroad, with little education.

    One claim of rape is one thing, but 3 already the situation out of the realms of a set up but an indication, nothing more, of the player’s ability to control himself when aroused.

    However there is another, more important factor for the club in that how can a player accused of 3 sexual assaults play anywhere near his full potential (I know many think that this particular one has never done so since he came to us or if he ever had a full potential). Can the club be satisfied that the player is not severely distracted during training and a game?

    I appreciate that it is a hard decision for the club, but, I think that they made the wrong one.

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