Laws of the Game Changes

There have been more than 95 amendments to the LOTG.  Some key changes are summarised below: –

1.The ball no longer has to go forwards at kickoff

2.It is now possible to receive a red card before the match starts

3.An end to ‘triple punishment’ (see next image)

4.Players injured during a foul by the opposition (which results in a yellow or red card) no longer need to leave the pitch after treatment

5.Penalties – Referees are instructed to yellow card a penalty taker who “illegally feints” once his run-up is complete. This means slowing to a stop immediately before shooting is not allowed, with a yellow card and an indirect free-kick to the opposition the result. (feinting during run-up is still allowed)

6.If play is stopped due to interference from a team official or substitute, rather than the award of an indirect free-kick or drop ball, the referee will now award a free-kick or penalty kick to the opposition.

7.Offsides – The law now states the halfway line is neutral, meaning a player must have part of the body (excluding arms or hands) in the opponents’ half to be flagged offside.

8.Handball is now a yellow card offence when “it stops/interferes with a promising attack”.

9.Referees have been urged to take a stronger stand on “intolerable behaviour” by players Running to contest decisions, arguing face-to-face with officials, and “visibly disrespectful” actions will result in yellow cards.  Red cards will be issued to players who confront officials and use insulting and/or offensive language or gestures towards them.

10.Violent Conduct will be punishable with a red card, even if no contact is made

End to ‘triple punishment’

  • “When a denial of a goalscoring opportunity offence is committed by a defender in the penalty area, the penalty kick effectively restores the goalscoring opportunity so the punishment for the player should be less strong (e.g. a yellow card) than when the offence is committed outside the penalty area. However, when the offence is handball or clearly not a genuine attempt to play or challenge for the ball, the player will be sent off.”
  • Offences which are normally punished by a red card (eg. Violent conduct, serious foul play etc.) are still red card offences and will result in dismissal.

For a full list of changes, please click here.