Full Strength Policy
MOMS was at the EFL Fans Forum that took place in Birmingham on Monday night and it served as a reminder of the EFL’s new ‘Full Strength Policy’ that kicks in at the end of this month, once the teams return from the international break.
It’s hoped that the new rule will bring a fairer and more competitive close to the season, by preventing teams in fielding weaken sides in key games that may affect the promotion or relegation picture.
If Aston Villa mange to claw themselves back into the automatic promotion picture, it could impact on some of their remaining fixtures. If for example Cardiff or Fulham are playing teams with nothing to play for, or teams saving themselves for the play-offs, those teams will still have to field strong teams. Of course, it works the other way too.
The rule essentially states what a ‘full strength’ side is deemed to be:
‘For any League match played on or after the fourth Thursday in March (including Season 2017/18), any team sheet for a League game should include at least 10 outfield players who featured on the team sheet for the League match before.’
Team sheet meaning the full match day squad.
The move came after the widespread attention that team selection received in the closing weeks of the 2016/17 season.
As a result of the advantages and disadvantages fielding weaken teams causes, not just to the teams playing the match, but another teams contesting promotion spots and fighting against relegation, the EFL teams decided it was time to define a minimum requirement to avoid ‘further potential reputational damage to the EFL and its competitions’.
In terms of punishment, it’s seems it will be decided on a case-by-case basis. With the EFL stating:
‘In the event any club breaches the threshold, they may be charged with a breach of Regulation 24 and the matter will be referred to a Disciplinary Commission.’