EFL ban towels in tactic to rid time-wasting with fans left howling

Fans have been left fuming by a bizarre new English Football League (EFL) clamp down on time-wasting.

The EFL, which encompasses the Championship, League One and League Two, on Thursday announced a series of regulation changes for the 2023/24 season following its annual general meeting.

Several off-field issues such as those involving owners, directors and insolvency were tackled in the statement.

But the EFL also announced one peculiar in-game change which will see towels, which are currently used by some teams on the side-lines to dry balls in wet conditions, banned during throw-in taking.

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Instead, a multi-ball system will be introduced with match balls placed on cones pitch-side in an effort to increase the time where the ball is in play during games.

A statement on the EFL website read: "The EFL will introduce a multi-ball system in all its competitions for the 2023/24 season. Match balls will be placed on cones in designated areas at pitch side to help increase the time of the ball being in play.

"Meanwhile, Clubs will no longer be permitted to use towels or other articles, including items obtained from spectators to dry footballs during matches."

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Yet the change has been a controversial one, with fans pointing out that there are many more pressing issues in the game to be addressed.

And some fumed that the issue of time-wasting will not be solved by something as trivial as banning towels to dry wet balls.

One Twitter user wrote: “Glad to see you’re sorting the really important stuff,” while another tweeted: “Many things in the game need fixing, not sure this was on anyone’s list.”

A third fumed: “Removing the use of towels is comical,” while a fourth sarcastically added: “Towels. Yeah, that will curb time wasting immediately. Bravo lads.”

And a fifth commented: “Are there any stats to show that the drying of a football has done anything other than enrage opposition fans?”

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