Portsmouth v Southampton referee to decide on Hampshire police recommendation to scrap substitute rule

Hampshire police have recommended substitutes are not made to walk in front of stands for the south-coast derby. Joe Pepler
Hampshire police have recommended substitutes are not made to walk in front of stands for the south-coast derby. Joe Pepler
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Calls to temporarily remove the new substitution rule will be left to the discretion of the referee overseeing the south-coast derby.

Southampton visit Fratton Park in the Carabao Cup on September 24 for an eagerly-awaited encounter.

As a consequence, Hampshire police have advised that the stipulation for a player to leave the pitch by the nearest touchline should be ‘relaxed’.

This is to prevent a potential flashpoint involving Southampton players walking past home stands on their way to the bench.

Currently, a player being substituted must exit the pitch at the nearest touchline.

For visiting players, that could involve leaving by the North stand on a journey taking them in front of the Fratton end and then the South stand, while heading towards their dug out.

According to a statement posted by the Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust, recommendations have been made to suspend that rule.

The statement said: ‘During the game, police will advise that the new rule instructing players to leave the pitch by their nearest touchline should be relaxed.’

It is understood the decision will be left to the discretion of the match officials on the day of the game.