There will be three new grounds in the Premier League this season and the away fans sitting in their stands will now be closer to the action, says Chris Hatherall.
There will be three stadia making their Premier League debuts in season 2017-18 – including the iconic Wembley Stadium which could host the league’s biggest-ever attendance very soon. Tottenham will be playing under the giant arch for at least one campaign while their new ground is built alongside the old White Hart Lane in north London.
Wembley, with a capacity of 90,000, has been used for Champions League and Europa League games before but never for regular Premier League matches.
Other stadia new to the top flight include Brighton’s award-winning Amex Stadium, which holds 30,750, and Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium, with a capacity of 24,500.
Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium will also look a little different – capacity is being increased to more than 30,000 for the new campaign. Since the launch of the Premier League in 1992, 58 football grounds have played host to matches.
New name and number styles on shirts
The Premier League has agreed a revamp of name and number styles on the back of shirts for season 2017-18. Clubs will now be given the choice of five different colour combinations for name and number printings. These are white with black details, plus black, navy, red, or yellow, all with white details. Teams will be encouraged to choose one that will stand out in contrast to their kit.
No more elaborate pitch designs
Premier League groundsman are to be prevented from over-expressing themselves in 2017-18 after both Leicester and Southampton featured wacky pitch designs last season.
Now clubs will only be able to create traditional horizontal lines, which help officials with offside decisions and brings the rules in line with UEFA.
The arrival of sleeve sponsorship
From the start of the 2017–18 Premier League season, club strips can feature sleeve sponsorship, whereby new sponsor logos will appear on the right sleeve of the strip. Liverpool have already signed up Western Union for the money transfer company to become the club’s first shirt sleeve sponsor
A new ball
This season’s official ball, the Nike Ordem V, has already been sent to clubs to train with. Look out for the hi-res version which will be launched when the clocks go back for winter.
Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer, Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino and Huddersfield’s David Wagner will all be new to the Premier League. Brighton’s Chris Hughton and Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez, who both guided their teams to promotion, are new for the season but have both managed in the division before.
Away fans closer to the pitch
Premier League clubs have agreed to a new rule which means away supporters will be seated together at all stadia and given at least one block pitchside to move them nearer to the action. “It’s about atmosphere,” Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore explained.
The decision has also gone down well with the Football Supporters Federation. Chief executive Kevin Miles said: “We’ve lobbied the Premier League for a number of seasons to move more away fans pitchside and we’re very pleased they have chosen to do that from 2017.”
Longer bans for divers
Players who dive or feign injury could face a two-match suspension starting from this season – thanks to the formation of a new three-man panel which will review incidents every Monday. The panel will consist of one former match official, a former manager and an ex-player – and The FA will only be able to impose the ban if the panel’s decision is unanimous. If a player is found guilty of deceiving an official (or admits to the charge) the yellow or red card given to the opposing player can also be rescinded.
Former players who will appear on the panel include Nigel Adkins, Rachel Brown-Finnis, Terry Butcher, Lee Dixon, Alex McLeish, Danny Murphy, Chris Powell and Trevor Sinclair. Ex-officials include Keren Barratt, Steve Dunn, Mike Mullarkey, Alan Wiley and Eddie Wolstenhome.
More drugs testing
The FA has announced a significant increase in the amount of drug testing in English football for the new season. A total of 5,000 tests will take place compared to 3,000 in 2016-17, heavily weighted towards the Premier League. It will include unannounced spot-tests at matches, training grounds and even at players’ homes.
The transfer window still has until the end of August to run but fans are already guaranteed a raft of new players to cheer in the new season (unless you happen to be a Spurs supporter).
From Alexandre Lacazette at Arsenal to Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United, Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva at City, Alvaro Morata at Chelsea, Mo Salah at Liverpool, Javier Hernandez at West Ham, Wayne Rooney at Everton, Jermain Defoe at Bournemouth and Kelechi Iheanacho at Leicester City, there are heroes-in-the-making just waiting to be crowned.
The only Premier League club not to make a signing so far is Tottenham Hotspur – but chairman Daniel Levy has always been the king of last-minute surprises…
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