Wrexham defender Ben Tozer has criticised the English Football League (EFL) ban on towels to dry the ball before long throw-ins, claiming the tactics are not “anti-football”.
The new rule on the towel ban approved earlier this month will also prevent players from using items of clothing offered up by fans to dry the ball for better grip.
Instead, the EFL will follow the Premier League’s example of a multi-ball system to speed up play in its competitions from the 2023-24 season.
The long throw-in was one of Wrexham’s most effective weapons last season as they gained promotion to the fourth-tier League Two and Tozer joked that without towels to dry the ball he might be redundant in the squad.
“I might have upset someone in the EFL because they’re trying to ruin my career. I nearly had to hand my retirement straight away,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“I understand it because some people see it as anti-football, but it’s part of football. Throw-ins are just like a corner or a penalty, they are set pieces.
“We had a bit of an advantage but there are ways around everything and I’ve got the shirt that I’m wearing. I can still dry the ball with that. I’m sure there will be other ways around it as well.”
Long throw-ins became popular in the Premier League when Tony Pulis’s Stoke City employed the tactic and had great success with Rory Delap launching the ball into the penalty area – effectively making it a set-piece.
Clubs had even resorted to bringing the advertising hoardings surrounding the pitch closer to the line to disrupt his run-up.
Wrexham, owned by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, will begin their League Two campaign at home to MK Dons when the season starts on Aug. 5.
But they will first entertain their new-found fans in the United States when they face Chelsea and Manchester United in next month’s pre-season tour.