Premier League changes rules on 'weakened' teams

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway
Ian Holloway defended making 10 changes against Aston Villa

The Premier League has changed their rules on so-called 'weakened' teams.

Top-flight clubs will now be allowed to pick any player in their 25-man matchday squad without fear of sanction from the Premier League.

Last season Blackpool were fined £25,000 after manager Ian Holloway made 10 changes for a match at Aston Villa.

And in December 2009 Wolves were handed a suspended fine after boss Mick McCarthy rotated his squad for their game at Manchester United.

The 20 Premier League clubs agreed at their AGM in early June that any combination of players named in their registered 25-man squads will be able to start a match.

The rule has not been totally withdrawn, and clubs will still be at risk of a fine if they select a number of younger players from outside their 25-man squad.

Nick Noble, spokesman at the Premier League said: "The 25-man squad rules do allow clubs to pick under-21 players beyond those named in their squad list and, with this in mind, it was agreed by the clubs that it was appropriate for the rule to remain in place in order to ensure the integrity of the competition."

Last November, Blackpool drew 2-2 at home to Everton, before Holloway then made 10 changes to his starting line up for a match at Aston Villa four days later.

Blackpool lost the match at Villa Park 3-2, with Holloway giving six players their first start in the Premier League.

Holloway defended his selection, saying at the time: "I've got every right to do what I like. Who are they to tell me my players are not good enough?"

He added that the players brought in had cost the club a lot of money, some of whom were internationals.

After the Premier League studied Holloway's selection Blackpool were fined £25,000 in January for distorting the integrity of the competition, a fine they later appealed.

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy
Mick McCarthy said Wolves' suspended fine was a "deterrent"

The Seasiders were relegated in May after an eventful debut season in the Premier League and a spokesman for the club welcomed the change to the rule.

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy made 10 changes to his team when playing against Manchester United at Old Trafford in December 2009. Wolves lost 3-0, but went on to beat Burnley in their next match, when nine players were recalled.

Wolves were handed a £25,000 suspended fine, a punishment that McCarthy accepted as a "deterrent" at a time when the 25-man squad rule was not in operation.

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