Refs, rules, subs & more – What’s new in Premier League this season?

The 2022/23 season has come around quickly and the next nine months will be nothing short of a rollercoaster ride, but what is new this time around?

The new Premier League season is here and it is time for each team to navigate their 38 games as best they can until May.

Liverpool’s target is clear for the campaign ahead and they have three new teams to meet on their journey as they look to amass an insurmountable points tally.

As for the league in its entirety, there has been an injection of ‘new’ from teams, managers, referees and substitutions.


The 3 promoted teams

It’s a return to the Premier League for Fulham and Bournemouth after finishing first and second in the Championship respectively.

The former return to the top flight after just one season away, while the Cherries are back for the first time since 2019/20.

Nottingham Forest, on the other hand, had to go through the playoff route and finally ended their 23-year wait to return to the Premier League having last been involved in 1998/99.

Liverpool face all three sides before September.


World Cup break

LONDON, ENGLAND - Friday, November 12, 2021: England's Jordan Henderson during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifying Group I match between England and Albania at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The standout in this list is the World Cup break, the competition takes place during November and December, ensuring this is an unprecedented campaign.

This means the schedule has shifted, with the league starting earlier than normal, the Champions League group stage concluding at the start of November and just one international break before the World Cup.

The break will start on the weekend of November 12 and return on December 26, a six-week break that clubs can use for a training camp or even organise friendlies.


New season, new ball

It is Nike’s 23rd season as the official ball supplier for the Premier League and the Nike Flight ball is what you will see on the pitch this season.

Inspired by the competition’s maiden season 30 years ago, the ball comes with the same colours and graphics used back in 1992.

The AerowSculpt technology used in the past two seasons remains, which is said to ‘improve consistency and give a truer flight’.


5 substitutes

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 19, 2022: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is replaced by substitute Thiago Alcantara during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After being trialled during the pandemic and then given the boot last season, the five substitution rule is now back and has become Premier League law.

It means the English top flight is in line with the rest of Europe and domestic cup competitions.

Jurgen Klopp has been a vocal advocate with player welfare in mind: “We have to make sure we give the players opportunity to save energy. Because they cannot do it on the pitch we have to do it like this.”

Concussion substitution trials are also to continue.


Manager debuts

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 25, 2020: Swansea City's manager Steve Cooper applauds the supporters after the Football League Championship match between Stoke City FC and Swansea City FC at the Britannia Stadium. Swansea City lost 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The league boasts an impressive list of managers and two are to ply their trade in the division for the very first time; Nottingham Forest‘s Steve Cooper and Man United‘s Erik ten Hag.

The pair arrive in very different circumstances, the former guided his team to an incredible promotion from the Championship while the latter was signed to help stabilise the Old Trafford club – wonder if he knew what he was getting into!

A special mention for Cooper, though, who is a former Liverpool academy manager.


New officials

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 22, 2015: An assistant referee flags for off-side during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Premier League lost four high-profile referees last season with Mike Dean, Jon Moss and Martin Atkinson and Kevin Friend all hanging up their whistles.

It means four officials have been promoted, referee Tom Bramall and assistant referees Natalie Aspinall, Nick Greenhalgh and Steve Meredith.

There are also plans to see in-match conversations between referees and VAR officials released to the public, but reports say that will only come after the conclusion of games.


Multi-ball system

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 8, 2021: A Liverpool Ball Assistant during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Athletic Club de Bilbao at Anfield. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There will be 10 official match balls in use for each game as part of the multi-ball system, introduced to help speed up the game after in-game time last season averaged just 55 minutes and seven seconds.

One of the balls will be the main ‘in-play’ ball, while eight will be situated at key locations around the pitch and the final one will be kept by the fourth official.

The ball is to return to both teams at the same speed, so if a team needs a goal there should not be any uncessary delays, for example.


No longer ‘taking the knee’ before every game

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 30, 2022: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (R) and Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' kneel down (takes a knee) in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before the FA Community Shield friendly match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at the King Power Stadium. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The players will no longer take the knee before every game this season, instead only doing so at specific points of the campaign.

That includes the opening and closing games of the season, dedicated No Room for Racism fixtures in October and November, Boxing Day games and the FA Cup and League Cup finals.


Delaying offfside flags

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Friday, April 5, 2019: Assistant referee Darren Cann flags for off-side during the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at the St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The way Liverpool plays, late offside flags have to be one of the most frustrating parts of watching the match as they can be comically late despite the obvious decision.

But assistant referees have now been instructed to only delay when there is a clear goalscoring opportunity and when the decision is a close one.

If a chance on goal is not obvious or the assistant is confident of the offside call they will show their flag immediately. Hopefully, this eliminates some of the frustration!