Premier League to scrap water breaks and full televised programme for 2020/21

Drinks breaks and extra TV matches will be scrapped ahead of the next Premier League season.

Though there is no sign of English football returning to pre-coronavirus normality, some special arrangements for this summer’s rearranged games will not be in place for future campaigns.

The temporary rule allowing teams to make five substitutions per fixture is set to stay for the whole of next season, but there will no longer be a set time for a drink, nor any way of watching certain matches, according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein.

Drinks breaks have been criticised for disrupting the flow of games, whatever the weather, and effectively acting as tactical timeouts, with Jose Mourinho admitting he sees them that way.

But the screening of additional matches was viewed as vital for loyal supporters who are being kept away from the grounds, as well as much-needed entertainment for neutrals locked in at home.

The Premier League introduced a mandatory one-minute pause in each half to ensure players keep hydrated throughout the condensed summer fixture schedule following the coronavirus lockdown.

The gap in play was also designed to allow time for officials to disinfect goalposts and corner flags.

But league officials have reportedly accepted they are weather dependent and should not be exploited as an excuse to drive up more revenue through American-style advertising breaks.

A source is quoted in The Athletic as saying: “There’s no need for them in the winter or thereafter. It was just something to try and protect the players a bit more during these unusual circumstances.”

The website is also reporting that the Premier League will go back to its normal UK broadcast model next season, with some matches unavailable live, even though top-flight stadiums are expected to remain partially shut for at least the rest of 2020.

The decision will potentially deny millions of viewers the chance to watch matches kicking off at 3pm in real time, even if their own clubs are involved.

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