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Article 8 - Law Changes for The 2019-20 Season

Keith Hackett’s Article 8 - Law Changes for The 2019-20 Season


Can you Hackett? Questions are at the bottom of this article

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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) the body responsible for the Laws of Association Football met recently at their Annual General Meeting. I have outlined below the Law changes that come into effect on June 1st 2019. We in England will see them implemented at the start of the new season. All Penistone Church teams need to be aware of these changes and how they impact on the coaches and players. I will be happy, prior to the start of next season to hold a meeting in the club house to run through them and answer any questions on officiating matters

Enjoy the read.

LAW 3 -A player being substituted must leave the field at the nearest point on the boundary line unless the referee allows the player to leave quickly/immediately at the halfway line.

LAW 5 -Referees will now show a yellow card or red card to a team official guilty of misconduct – the laws of the game will list the main red and yellow card offences: if the offender cannot be identified, the senior coach present in the technical area will receive the red and yellow card.

Law 13 & Law 16 -For free kicks to the defending team in their own penalty area and for goal kicks, the ball will be in play as soon as it is kicked and moves; the requirement that it must leave the penalty area before any player can touch it has been removed,

LAW 8- The Start and Restart of play; The dropped ball - The current dropped ball procedure is unsatisfactory as it often leads to confrontation or a ‘manufactured’ restart which is ‘exploited’ unfairly, e.g. kicking the ball out for a throw-in deep in the opponent’s half. The new procedure is:

  • for the dropped ball to be ‘uncontested’ – the ball will be dropped for only one player and

  • all other players must remain at least 4m (4.5 yards) away.

  • Play will then continue ‘as normal’, i.e. the ball is not given back to the opponents.

  • Different if the ball was in the penalty area - If play was stopped when the ball, or the last touch of the ball, was in the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the defending team goalkeeper. In all other cases, the ball will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the place where it was last touched.

LAW 12 Fouls and misconduct; Handling the ball - Handball is probably the most ‘unclear’ area of the Laws of the Game and this lack of clarity causes much confusion, inconsistency and controversy. The laws relating to ‘fouls’ and ‘offside’ were improved by moving the focus from ‘intent’ (mental) to ‘outcome’ (physical) and a similar change has been applied to ‘non-deliberate’ handball situations. Therefore, whilst ‘deliberate’ handball remains an offence, the Law now provides greater clarity as to whether an offence has occurred when the ball ‘accidentally’ touches the hand/arm.

Consequently, a player will be penalised when the ball touches their hand/arm if:

  • Their hand/arm is above shoulder height (except when deliberately playing the ball) as a player is ‘taking a risk’ by having their hand/arm in that unusually ‘unnatural’ position;

  • The player’s body has been made unnaturally bigger, and has thus unfairly created a larger barrier, by their hand/arm being away from their body.

  • A goal is scored directly from their hand/arm (even if accidental) and then scores a goal or creates a goal scoring opportunity

However, except in the situations outlined above, a player will not usually be penalised when the ball touches their hand/arm if;

  • The ball came off the player’s own body. Or the body of another player (of either team) who was close by, as it is almost impossible to make contact with the ball.

  • A player falls down and their hand/arm is between their body and the ground for support.


The IFAB Annual General Meeting approved a number of other Law changes, notably ;

  • If a team’s penalty taker is injured and has treatment he/she can stay on the field to take the penalty kick (Law 5)

  • The team that wins the toss can choose to take the kick off (Law 8)

  • If a yellow card/red card offence occurs but the non-offending team takes a quick free kick which creates a goal-scoring opportunity. The referee can delay showing the yellow card/red card until the next stoppage (Law 12)

  • If the defending team forms a ‘wall’ of three or more players, attacking team players must be at least 1m away from the ‘wall’ – indirect free kick if they encroach. (LAW 13)

  • The goalkeeper must be on (not in front or behind) the goal line at a penalty kick but only needs to have one foot on the goal line (or in line with it if in the air) when the kick is taken (Law 14)

  • Multi-coloured /patterned undershirts are permitted if the same as the main shirt sleeve (Law 4)

  • Explanation of the difference between ‘cooling breaks’ and ‘drinks breaks’ (Law 7)

  • If the goalkeeper attempts to ‘clear’ the ball from a throw-in or deliberate pass from a teammate and the ‘clearance’ is unsuccessful the goalkeeper may handle the ball (Law 12)

  • A yellow card for an ‘illegal’ goal celebration (eg removing the shirt, climbing on the fence) remains even if the goal is disallowed. (Law 12)


The FA recently announced that select trials of temporary dismissals – more commonly known as ‘sin bins’ – will continue during the 2018-19 season before becoming mandatory for all leagues at Step 7 and below from the 2019-20 season. The scheme was originally conceived following a decision by the IFAB that gave national associations the ability to implement temporary dismissals from 2017-18 at the grassroots level of the game.

The FA chose to focus on matters of dissent (which amounted to 25% of all cautions during the 2016-17 season), directly support the Respect programme, and aims to ensure that football – both on and off the pitch – is an enjoyable, inclusive and a positive experience ‘For All’.

Reference to temporary dismissals is found in the Laws of the Game 2017/18:

Law 5 – The Referee (Powers and Duties): Disciplinary action The referee:

• has the power to show yellow or red cards and, where competition rules permit, temporarily dismiss a player, from entering the field at the start of the match until after the match has ended, including during the half-time interval, extra time and kicks from the penalty mark

A temporary dismissal is when a player commits a cautionable (yellow card) offence and is punished by an immediate ‘suspension’ from participating in the next part of that match. The philosophy is that an ‘instant punishment’ can have a significant and immediate positive influence on the behaviour of the offending player and, potentially, the player’s team. The National FA, Confederation or FIFA, should approve (for publication in the competition rules) a temporary dismissal protocol within the following guidelines:


  • Temporary dismissals apply to all players (including goalkeepers) but not for cautionable offences (yellow cards) committed by a substitute or substituted player


  • The referee will indicate a temporary dismissal by showing a yellow card and then clearly pointing with both arms to the temporary dismissal area (usually the player’s technical area)


  • The length of the temporary dismissal is the same for all offences

  • The length of the temporary dismissal for The FA Pilot, it will be 10 minutes for Adult - Open aged Football and 8 minutes for Youth Football

  • The temporary dismissal period begins when play restarts after the player has left the field of play.

  • The referee should include in the temporary dismissal period any time ‘lost’ for a stoppage for which ‘additional time’ will be allowed at the end of the half (e.g. substitution, injury, time-wasting etc.)


The only major change has been that although a sin bin yellow card will still not attract the normal £10 administration fee, the FA has changed their stance on players receiving two sin bin expulsions in the same game. This will now lead to the standard £25 fine and one match ban as the player clearly did not take stock of the first one. It also means that players cannot get away with have a second go at the referee ‘for free’, with less than ten minutes left in the game.

Single sin bin yellow cards will still be recorded and count towards the totting up system, so players will receive the standard fine and one match ban once they reach 5 yellows cards whether they were for dissent or normal offences.

A player is technically "in" the sin bin from the time the yellow card is shown, even on his way to the sin bin. Therefore any further misconduct before play is restarted is dealt with in the same manner. The sin bin ten minutes does not start until play is restarted.

Stoppages in play (e.g. for injuries) are not included in the ten minutes - therefore a 2 minute stoppage for an injury results in the player being off for 12 minutes.

For games of anything less than 90 minutes the sin bin is reduced to 8 minutes - even for junior games of 25 minutes each way.


Keith Hackett



Three players challenge for the ball near the touch line, forcing the ball out for a throw in. You and your assistant referee have no idea who touched it last. What is your decision?

Check your answers here