• 2019-03-12

The IFAB released the actual language of the changes to the 2019 Laws of the Game.  Some of these are a bit befuddling and are going to roil instruction in all our various associations for the next several seasons.

NOTE: All changes come into force on June 1, 2019.

Herewith a simple outline of the main changes/clarifications.

Law 3

• A player who is being substituted must leave the field at the nearest point on the boundary line, unless otherwise directed by the referee

Law 4

• Undershirts can be multi-coloured/patterned if exactly the same as the sleeve of the main shirt

Law 5

• Referee cannot change a restart decision after play has restarted but, in certain circumstances, may issue a YC/RC for a previous incident

• If the referee leaves the field for a VAR review or to call players back to the field at the end of a half, a decision can still be changed

• Team officials guilty of misconduct can be shown a YC/RC; if an offender cannot be identified, the senior coach in the technical area receives the YC/RC

• If a penalty kick is awarded, the team’s penalty taker can receive assessment or treatment and then stay on the field and take the kick

Law 7

• Clarification of the difference between ‘cooling’ and ‘drinks’ breaks

Law 8

• The team that wins the toss may choose to take the kick-off

• Dropped ball – ball dropped for goalkeeper (if play stopped in penalty area) or for one player of team that last touched the ball at the location of the last touch; all other players (of both teams) must be at least 4m (4.5 yds) away

Law 9

• Dropped ball if the ball touches the referee (or other match official) and goes into the goal, possession changes or an attacking move starts

Law 10

• Goalkeeper cannot score by throwing the ball into the opponents’ goal

Law 12

• Handball text re-written for greater clarity/consistency with clear guidelines for when ‘non-deliberate’ handball should (and should not) be penalised

• Confirmation that an ‘illegal’ handball offence by a goalkeeper in their own penalty area is not sanctioned with a YC/RC

• If, after a throw-in or deliberate pass from a team-mate, the goalkeeper unsuccessfully kicks or tries to kick the ball to release it into play, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball

• Referee can delay issuing a YC/RC until the next stoppage if the non-offending team takes a quick free kick and creates a goal-scoring opportunity

• The YC for an ‘illegal’ goal celebration remains even if the goal is disallowed

• List of the warning/YC/RC offences for team officials

• All verbal offences are punished with an IDFK

• Kicking an object is punished in the same way as throwing an object

Law 13

• Once an IDFK has been taken, the referee can stop showing the IDFK signal if it is clear that goal cannot be scored directly (e.g. from most offside IDFKs)

• For defending team free kicks in their penalty area, the ball is in play once it is kicked and clearly moves; it does not have to leave the penalty area

• When there is a defensive ‘wall’ of at least 3 players, all attacking team players must be at least 1m from the ‘wall’; IDFK if they encroach

Law 14

• Goalposts, crossbar and nets must not be moving when a penalty is taken and the goalkeeper must not be touching them

• Goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot on, or in line with, the goal line when a penalty kick is taken; cannot stand behind the line

• If an offence occurs after the referee signals for a penalty kick to be taken but the kick is not taken, it must then be taken after any YC/RC is issued

Law 15

• Opponents must be at least 2m from the point on the touchline where a throw-in is to be taken, even if the thrower is back from the line

Law 16

• At goal kicks, the ball is in play once it is kicked and clearly moves; it does not have to leave the penalty area

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