LONG-throw specialists in the EFL will be BANNED from using towels to dry the ball next term.
Club chiefs agreed the rule amendment at their annual meeting, which also formally introduces “multiball” to get play started quicker.
In a statement after the meeting, where club bosses gave chief executive Rick Parry a new three-year mandate, a spokesman said: “The EFL will introduce a multiball 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.”
The EFL clubs agreed to mirror the Prem’s reformed and toughened Owners’ and Directors Test, a move aimed at preventing rogue executives becoming involved in the game.
Clubs will also be banned from any transfers for 18 MONTHS if they are routinely late with HMRC debt payments.
Any breaches of payment dates will be added up and if a club “accumulates 30 days of late payments in a 12-month period” they will be unable to sign a player for a fee or any consideration for three full transfer windows.
The meeting was addressed by Sports Minister Stuart Andrew, who again warned Prem clubs they face Government intervention if a new cash deal with the EFL is not swiftly agreed.
Premier League and EFL bosses remain at daggers drawn over parachute payments and other issues, with Parry wanting 25 per cent of the top flight’s TV income to be given to his clubs.
The Minister said: “We want a thriving football pyramid, and more money must flow through the game to make this happen.
“It remains our firm belief that the best solution is a football led one and I am hopeful that the resolution will be found soon.
“I would urge both sides to reach a deal as soon as possible. It is in the game’s interests to avoid the risk of further financial uncertainty.
“If one is not found the Regulator will have a backstop power to intervene and force a solution.”