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A look at the changes to the laws of football - part one

A special column on amendments to the laws of the game

9 June 2019

From 1 June, 12 changes to the laws of football came in to force. The changes cover many aspects of the game and will be seen at Griffin Park when the 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship season starts in August. Guest columnist Ken Goldman has a look at some of them.

There are a couple out of the 12 new Law changes (two of which are actually reminders) that will fundamentally alter the game again. 

Firstly at kick-off we have returned to the original concept of the winner of the toss having the choice of kick-off or ends. This was only changed because some players and officials kicked off twice in the same match, so why everyone else had to be penalised for so many years often causing both confusion and consternation one has no idea.

Next the defending side at their goal kick or any kind of free kick in the penalty are no longer has to kick the ball out of that area. Instead the ball is in play from the moment it is kicked and moves. Attackers now only need to be ten yards (9.5meters) away.

At all free kicks where there is a 'wall' of at least three players no attacking player will be allowed to join that wall and instead must be at least one meter/one yard from the wall. The penalty for breach of this is an indirect free kick against the attacking side.

If a penalty is awarded and the taker is injured and receives attention he/she can now stay on the field and take the kick.

Whilst it is technically possible, but only surely if wind assisted, for a goalkeeper to throw the ball into his opponents goal whilst the ball is in play and score, this is outlawed and will no longer be possible.

There is the confirmed introduction of red and yellow cards for misconduct of team officials and they can now be shown a yellow card if an offender cannot be identified with the senior coach in the technical area being the one to receive it instead.

If after there is a deliberate kick to the goalkeeper he/she attempts to kick the ball into play but is unsuccessful the keeper is then allowed to handle it again.

The yellow card administered for delaying the restart by a goal celebration stands even if the goal is subsequently disallowed.

Substitutes must now leave the field of play at the nearest point to the boundary line unless redirected by the referee.

Specifically for referees are changes and confirmations that include all verbal offences being punished by an indirect free kick.  Once an indirect free kick has been taken the referee is no longer required to show the hand signal if it is clear that a goal cannot be scored directly.

And two matters are reminded (a) opponents must be two meters from the point on the touchline where a throw is to be taken and (b) there is no yellow card for the goalkeeper for picking up the ball illegally in his own penalty area.

A simple but vivid fashion one is that allowance will be made for undershirts being multi-coloured/patterned provided they are exactly the same as the sleeve of the main shirt.

Further important changes on penalty kicks, handball and the drop ball will all be discussed in part two in the coming days.


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