There are some new football laws for players, managers fans and the media to get their heads around in the 2019-20 season. Some are designed to stop gamesmanship and time-wasting and there’s even been an attempt to make the handball law easier to understand and follow! Here are the main changes...
1) No attacking players to be allowed into a defensive wall of three or more players. All attacking players must be at least one metre from the wall or an indirect free kick will be awarded to the defending team.
2) Players to be substituted must leave the pitch at the nearest point rather than traipse across the pitch to depart near the managerial dugouts.
3) Goalkeepers must have at least one foot on the line when a penalty is struck.
4) If the ball crosses the line after an accidental handball by an attacker the goal will be disallowed.
5) Accidental handball that creates an advantage will also now be penalised by a free kick or penalty.
6) Drop balls will no longer be contested. If the game is to be restarted by a drop ball in the penalty area it will be dropped to the goalkeeper. If the game is restarted outside the area the ball will be dropped to the team last in possession and opponents/teammates will be at least 4.5 metres away from the dropped ball. The theory is to stop teams losing advantageous positions by having the ball returned big distances away from where they were when play was stopped through no fault of their own.
7) If the ball touches the referee (or any official) in the field of play and goes into the goal, the goal will not stand and possession will go to the defending team via a goalkick. If the ball touches the referee and a promising attack starts, a dropped ball is awarded.
8) The ball can now be played inside the area by the defending team from a goalkick. Opponents must remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in play ie as soon as the free kick is taken. This is also the case for defensive free kicks inside the penalty area.
9) The team that wins the toss can now choose to kick off or have choice of ends.
10) Players from step five and below can now be sin binned for dissent. You can read more about those laws here.
The new laws are effective now and relate to all levels of football.