We already know that Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be introduced to the Premier League next season, and now the International FA Board (IFAB) have revealed a series of new rule changes that will be implemented from the 2019/20 campaign onwards, a handful of which we take a look at below.
No rebounds from penalties
Perhaps the most controversial change.
We often see players miss penalties only to score from the rebound - Paul Pogba this season for example (see video below) - however from the next campaign this will not result in a goal.
If a penalty is saved, or hits the woodwork, and then falls to a forward the referee will instantly stop play.
This also means that players will no longer need to line-up on the edge of the penalty area.
Handball goals, accidental or not, won't stand
Javier Hernandez scored a controversial equaliser with his hand for West Ham against Fulham last month in a game in which his troops went on to win 3-1 at the London Stadium. The referee missed it, and the goal was given, much to the ire of Cottagers fans.
Next season any goal which has hit a player's hand, deliberate or not, will no longer stand. So in the case of Hernandez, the referee could consult VAR next term, and subsequently rule the goal out.
“A goal scored directly from the hand/arm (even if accidental) and a player scoring or creating a goal-scoring opportunity after having gained possession/control of the ball from their hand/arm (even if accidental) will no longer be allowed," said the IFAB body (quotes via Sky Sports News).
Substituted players can leave the field anywhere
A welcome change this one. Currently when a player’s number crops up on the substitution board - in the closing stages of a game - opposition players and fans watch on in agonising frustration as the player strolls off from one end of the pitch to the other, seemingly in slow motion.
It’s a negative tactic often employed towards the end of a fixture in order to prevent this quite blatant act of time wasting. From next season players will no longer be required to leave the pitch at the halfway line, but instead at the nearest point.
Zero attacking players in the wall
In recent years it’s become custom at dangerous free-kicks for the team taking the set piece to place players in the wall in a bid to unsettle the defending teams organisation, and block the goalkeeper’s view.
It’s also used as a way of moving defending players in the wall out the way, thus creating space for the free-kick taker to fire the ball through the wall on goal. However, from next season attacking players must stand at least one metre from the wall.
Managers will receive yellow and red cards
This rule has already been implemented in the Football League with referees able to whip out yellow and red cards to hot-headed managers. Cards, instead of verbal warnings, are shown for incidents such as sarcastic clapping, gestures, violent conduct, kicking water bottles and so on.
Steve Evans, who recently left Peterborough, was shown a whopping four yellow cards - and a red - in the opening four months of the season. Next term this rule will be in operation in the Premier League too - watch out Nuno Santo!
Goalkeepers can now pass the ball in the penalty area from a goal kick, while keepers must have one foot on the line at penalties. Additionally, if the ball hits the referee at any point during a game then a drop ball situation will occur.