Here is FIFA’s Short List of Changes

The changes that have been listed by FIFA are hardly earth shattering!

Unless you think of the kick-off which is now so different that one of my coaches from the Academy e-mailed me after seeing Northern Ireland kick-off asking how can this be!

Plus now if someone is fouled in the penalty area they may or may not be sent off if you think it’s not deliberate!

And of course, now an injured player may or may not have to go off if you caution or red card the offender.

In other words we’ve got to use our opinion on these things!

FIFA have given us (the referees) an Outline Summary of the Law Changes for this coming season.

Just in case you haven’t seen them, I’ve recreated them below:

Law 01 – Field of Play

  • Artificial and natural surfaces may not be combined on the field
  • Competitions may determine field size for their competitions (within Law)
  • All commercial advertising on the ground must be at least 1m (1yd) from boundary lines
  • Logos/emblems of FAs, competitions etc… allowed on corner flags (no advertising)

Law 02 – The Ball


Law 03 – The Players (new title)

  • A match may not start/continue if a team has fewer than 7 players
  • Substitutes may take a restart but must first step on the field
  • Clarifies situation when a player is sent off before/after kick off
  • Direct FREE KICK (or penalty) if a substitute/team official interferes with play
  • If something/someone (other than a player) touches a ball as it goes into the goal the referee can award the goal if the touch had no impact on the defenders
  • If a goal is scored with an extra person on the field and the referee has restarted play the goal stands and match continues

Law 04 – The Players’ Equipment

  • Any tape or other material on/covering socks must be the same colour as the sock
  • Player losing footwear/shinguard accidentally can play on until next stoppage
  • Undershorts must be colour of shorts or hem; team must all wear same colour
  • Electronic communication with substitutes is forbidden
  • Player can return during play after changing/correcting equipment, once equipment has been checked (by referee, fourth official or AR) and referee signals

Law 05 – The Referee

  • Decision cannot be changed if play restarted or referee has left the field (HT + FT)
  • If several offences occur at the same time the most serious is punished
  • Referee can send a player off from pre-match pitch inspections onwards
  • Referee can only use RC + YC after entering the field at the start of the match
  • Player injured by RC/YC foul can be quickly assessed/treated and stay on the field
  • The equipment a referee can or may be allowed to use
  • Diagrams of referee signals included (from Guidelines section)

Law 06 – The Other Match Officials (new title)

  • More details about the duties of the assistants, AARs, fourth official
  • Diagrams of assistant referee signals included (from Guidelines section)

Law 07 – The Duration of the Match

  • More reasons for additional time (e.g. medical drinks breaks)

Law 08 – The Start and Restart of Play

  • All restarts included (previously only kick-off and dropped ball)
  • Ball must clearly move to be in play for all kicked restarts
  • Ball can be kicked in any direction at kick-off (previously had to go forward)
  • Referee cannot “manufacture” outcome of dropped ball

Law 09 – The Ball in and out of Play

  • If a ball rebounds off a match official it is in play unless it has wholly passed over a boundary line

Law 10 – Determining the Outcome of a Match (new title)

Kicks from the penalty mark:

  • Referee will toss a coin to choose the goal (unless weather, safety, etc…)
  • Player temporarily off the field (e.g. injured) at final whistle can take part
  • Both teams must have the same number of players before and during the kicks
  • Clear statement of when a kick is over
  • Kicks not delayed if player leaves the field; if not back in time kick is forfeited

Law 11 – Offside

  • Halfway line is “neutral” for offside; player must be in opponents’ half
  • Players’ arms are not considered when judging offside position (including goalkeeper)
  • Offside FREE KICK always taken where offence occurs (even in own half)
  • Defender off the field only “active” until defending team clear ball or play stops
  • As above for attacker returning; before that re-entry point is the offside position

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct

  • Foul with contact is a direct FREE KICK
  • Advantage for a RC – indirect FREE KICK if offender then gets involved in play
  • Change of wording for handball so that not every handball is a YC
  • Some DOGSO offences in the penalty area are punished with a YC
  • Attempted violent conduct is a RC, even if no contact
  • Striking on head/face when not challenging an opponent is a RC
  • Offence against substitutes, team officials, match officials etc. is now a direct FREE KICK
  • Foul off the field penalised with a direct FREE KICK on boundary line (penalty in own penalty area)

Law 13 – Free Kicks

  • Difference between “stopping” a FREE KICK and intercepting the ball after FREE KICK taken

Law 14 – The Penalty Kick

  • Indirect FREE KICK + YC if wrong player deliberately takes the penalty
  • Indirect FREE KICK if ball kicked backwards
  • If “illegal” feinting occurs it is always an INDIRECT FREE KICK (and YC)
  • Goalkeeper YC if infringes and PK is retaken

Law 15 – The Throw-in

  • New wording makes it clear that ball must be thrown with both hands

Law 16 – The Goal Kick

  • If Goal Kick kicked into own goal it is a corner kick to opponents
  • An opponent in the penalty area when the Goal Kick is taken cannot play the ball first

Law 17 – The Corner Kick

  • If CK kicked into own goal it is a corner kick to opponents

It is my intention to give some more details on these over the coming weeks.


Category: Blog, The Renegade

5 comments on “Here is FIFA’s Short List of Changes

  1. Law 16, if the player receives the ball, by being in the penalty area. what action should I take as a referee

  2. Law 16, I a player receives the ball outside the penalty after being in side the penalty area, what action shoud I take as a referee’

    • Gary, let’s be clear here. Are you saying that the goal kick is taken and the player was inside the PA but when he receives the ball he is outside?

    • Sorry, another question: is the player an opponent or colleague of the kicker?

  3. Thanks

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