Pro Kabaddi League 2022

Explained: Three rule changes made in the Pro Kabaddi League Season nine

This is the ninth season of the PKL
Pro Kabaddi League
Pro Kabaddi League (source: Twitter)

Season 9 of the Pro Kabaddi League got underway in Bengaluru on Friday. The tournament will see three rule changes that will make the game of Kabaddi more fair, interesting, and different. The three changes are farewell to the lobby rule, more substitutions, and greater depth to the squad during match days. The rules are as follows:

1. The end of the Lobby Rule –

This rule change headlined the season as the new rule gives some breathing space to the defending teams. The lobbies are the strips on either side of the mat which are used when a raider tags a defender. The lobby rule states that if a raider steps out of bounds and a defender follows him, then the defender is also ruled out and the raiding team is awarded the point.

The rule was widely contested as being unfair to the defending team and now the rule has been changed to maintain balance. E Prasad Rao, the technical director of Pro Kabaddi League, tells ESPN: “From this season on, once the raider goes out of bounds before a tackle, the raid will be considered over. The defender who goes into the lobby will not be treated as out.”

2. More Freedom given in terms of substitutions –

The earlier substitution rule was each team was allowed to make a total of five substitutions plus one during halftime, but now it has been amended in such a way that teams can make seven changes during the game and also during the strategic timeouts they’re allowed in each half. They can also make one more substitution during the half-time interval.

This means, in totality, a team can make up to eight substitutions from this season and they can replace the starting seven if need be. “The top performers over the last few seasons have been the young players and with more youngsters coming in every season, so we want to give more opportunities to the coaches to use their upcoming players,” says Rao.

3. The match day squad can be increased to 14 players –

Teams can have 14 players in their squad per game, which is two more than the 12 players they were allowed till last season. ”The number of matches has increased and it’s a long season with plenty of close games. To neutralize the possibility of injury, we’ve increased the number of players in the matchday squad this season,” Rao added.

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