During their pre-season friendly on Wednesday night, Wrexham allowed Chelsea to break a rule against the League Two side.
Both teams are currently on a summer tour of the United States and commenced their schedule of friendlies against each other.
The match took place at Kenan Memorial Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with Chelsea emerging victorious in emphatic fashion, as they beat Wrexham 5-0.
The London-based club, under the charge of Mauricio Pochettino, secured the win with goals from Connor Gallagher, Christopher Nkunku, Ben Chilwell, and a brace from Ian Maatsen.
The young talent, Angelo Gabriel, also managed to steal the show with his impressive performance.
Interestingly, during the match, Wrexham allowed Chelsea to break a major rule, and the rule violation was concerning full-back Marc Cucurella.
What rule did Chelsea break against Wrexham?
In a remarkable display of sportsmanship, the Welsh side, owned by Hollywood personalities Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, demonstrated great generosity by allowing the Premier League side to sub Marc Cucurella back into the game late in the contest, despite him having already been substituted out earlier in the match.
The situation arose when Blues defender Trevor Chalobah sustained a serious injury and was unable to continue playing. Recognizing the circumstance, Mauricio Pochettino was permitted to bring the full-back back onto the field.
This particular rule has been a longstanding tradition in professional leagues throughout most of the sport’s history, making Wrexham’s decision to grant the two-time Champions League winners this exception both surprising and commendable. It showcased a classy act on Wrexham’s part.
Cucurella has been subbed on after being subbed off. Not sure that’s legal.
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) July 20, 2023
Marc Cucurella started against Wrexham, was subbed off… and then was subbed on. I’ve seen it all.🤣 pic.twitter.com/RB7lFc2qEa
— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) July 20, 2023
Indeed, the former Brighton and Hove Albion defender, Marc Cucurella, started the contest but was substituted at halftime for Chilwell.
However, due to an unfortunate Achilles injury suffered by Trevor Chalobah later in the game, Mauricio Pochettino had already used up all of his allotted substitutes.
In a display of true sportsmanship and class, Wrexham made a remarkable decision to allow Chelsea to bend the rule and bring Cucurella back into the game, rather than forcing them to play with one less player.
This gesture has garnered immense respect and admiration from football fans for Wrexham’s sporting spirit and fair play.
The rule that prevents substituted players from returning to a game only stands in professional leagues, and the move isactually permittedin grassroots games, as well as in veterans and disability football.
As the laws of football continue to change, and the rules around substitutions constantly evolve, there may be a time when the move will be allowed worldwide, but as of now, Chelsea will likely be the only side allowed to do such a thing in the professional game this year.
Speaking after the game, Pochettino was quite blasé about the situation, simply saying: “Chalobah felt his Achilles, and we wanted to play with 11 rather than ten. That was it.”
He did reveal, though, that both Wrexham and the referee on the night, Marcos De Oliveira, had given him the green light to break the rule and reintroduce Cucurella.
The Blues’ pre-season continues on Saturday as they take on Brighton at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, while Wrexham’s preparations for their return to League Two roll on as they face LA Galaxy II on Saturday at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.