Police have warned that FIFA’s rule on substitutions should be suspended for the derby clash between Portsmouth and Southampton in the Carabao Cup, per The Daily Mail.
The two fierce rivals have been drawn against each other in the third round of the tournament, with the game set to take place at Fratton Park on September 24th.
FIFA introduced a rule at the start of the 2019/20 campaign that tells players to leave the pitch at the nearest touchline as opposed to walking to the dugout.
However, police fear that this could see the safety of players endangered, per the Mail; the two clubs have not played each other since 2012 and there is expected to be a hostile atmosphere.
Donald Vass, the secretary of the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust, said: “During the game, police will advise that the new rule instructing players to leave the pitch by their nearest touchline should be relaxed.
“A decision on whether or not to hold away fans back after the game, allowing home fans to dissipate, will be taken nearer to the fixture.”
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This is a sensible move.
There is nothing to say that there would be genuine violence aimed at players from supporters but this is a massive derby game that has not been played in seven years.
The atmosphere will be febrile, to be sure, and there has to be a duty of care towards the players on the pitch.
Taking an extra couple of minutes just to walk to the dugout, in order to head off any potential issues, has to be the right decision.
Sense has prevailed here.