With the 2018-19 season now fully over, talk has since turned to possible Premier League targets, and the 2019-20 fixture list. If you’re missing your football fix, check out football bets today. As we gear up to the new season, fans will look forward to rule changes that are set to be introduced ahead of the next campaign.
The decision to introduce these changes was made on March 2nd, at the 133rd annual meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which was chaired by the President of the Scottish Football Association and attended by representatives from FIFA and the football associations of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The changes were enforced as of June 1st, but what are they and how will they impact the top flight?
Handball: what is deliberate?
Handball has been one of the biggest issues in football in recent years and the IFAB released a statement saying: “On the topic of defining handball, a decision was taken by The IFAB to provide a more precise and detailed definition for what constitutes handball, in particular with regard to the occasions when a non-deliberate/accidental handball will be penalised”.
In short, handball is when a goal is scored after touching an attacking player’s arm or hand; a player controls the balls with their arm or hand and then scores or creates a goalscoring opportunity; a player controls the ball with their arm or hand after making themselves bigger; or the ball touches a player’s arm or hand above shoulder height. In these instances, goals will not stand and the changes mean a free-kick will be awarded when a goal or clear chance occurs from a handball.
Furthermore, if the goalkeeper attempts to clear a throw-in or deliberate kick from a teammate and fails, he is then able to handle the ball.
Substitutions: no more timewasting
Another big issue is timewasting and during Burnley’s 2-0 win over Cardiff City in April, it’s believed that the ball was in play for just 42 minutes and two seconds – with eight minutes spent waiting for the Bluebirds’ Sean Morrison to take 20 long throw-ins.
A change to the substitution rule should eradicate that and players who are being taken off and replaced must leave the pitch by the nearest point, as opposed to the halfway line. This should see a reduction in players trudging off at a snail’s pace and in addition, players going off must make their way directly to the technical area or dressing room, or risk being sanctioned for unsporting behaviour.
The IFAB said: “Following experiments in different parts of the world, the AGM also approved changes to the Laws of the Game related to a player being substituted having to leave the field of play at the nearest boundary line”.
Freekicks: no attacking players in the wall
From next season, attacking players are prohibited from being in the wall when a free-kick is taken. And more specifically, when there is a wall of three or more players, the attacking side are now allowed within a metre of it. If in this case, an attacking player is deemed to have broken the rule, they will be penalised and the other team will be rewarded with an indirect free-kick.
Of the change, the IFAB said: “There is no legitimate tactical justification for attackers to be in the ‘wall’ and their presence is against the ‘spirit of the game’ and often damages the image of the game”.
Cards for coaches: no more verbal warnings
Currently, coaches only receive a verbal warning for misconduct – like when Jurgen Klopp celebrated Divock Origi’s injury-time winner against Everton at the end of last year. The Liverpool boss was subsequently charged by the FA and fined £8,000.
Officials will subsequently be able to issue coaches with yellow and red cards, the same way they do with players. Whether it’s the managers that don’t see eye-to-eye, or they have a problem with the official, or like in the case above, enter the field of play, they will be sanctioned. If in the case of a touchline melee, the official is unable to identify a specific member of staff, the senior coach in the technical area will be the default recipient of the card, no matter what colour.
Penalties: stay on your line, ‘keeper
The rule for penalties is one that is constantly up for discussion and each time, the freedom of the goalkeeper is reduced. The new rules state that the shot-stopper must not be moving or touching the goalposts; and must have at least part of one foot on, or in-line with the goal-line.
The IFAB explains: “Allowing the goalkeeper to have only one foot touching the goal line (or, if jumping, in line with the goal line) when the penalty kick is taken is a more practical approach as it is easier to identify if both feet are not on the line.”
“As the kicker can ‘stutter’ in the run, it is reasonable that the goalkeeper can take one step in anticipation of the kick”.
Dropped ball: but not as we know it
There are two new rules which affect the dropped ball situation: if the play is stopped inside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the goalkeeper; if the play is stopped outside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball.
Explaining these changes, the IFAB said: “The current dropped ball procedure often leads to a ‘manufactured’ restart which is ‘exploited’ unfairly or an aggressive confrontation. Returning the ball to the team that last played it restores what was ‘lost’ when play was stopped, except in the penalty area where it is simpler to return the ball to the goalkeeper.
“To prevent that team gaining an unfair advantage, all players of both teams, except the player receiving the ball, must be at least four metres away”.