IFAB Laws of the Game changes 2019/20 – text and explanations

Law 3 – The Players

3. Substitution procedure
Amended text
To replace a player with a substitute, the following must be observed:
• (…)
• the player being substituted: •receives the referee’s permission to leave the field of play, unless already off the field, and must leave by the nearest point on the boundary line unless the referee indicates that the player may leave directly and immediately at the halfway line or another point (e.g. for safety/security or injury)
• the player being substituted must go immediately to the technical area or dressing room and takes no further part in the match, except where return substitutions are permitted
• if a player who is to be substituted refuses to leave, play continues
Explanation
To stop a player who is being substituted ‘wasting’ time by leaving slowly at the halfway line (which is not a Law requirement) the player must leave at the nearest point (as with an injury) unless the referee indicates otherwise, e.g. if the player can leave quickly at the halfway line, there is a safety/security issue or the player leaves on a stretcher. The player must go immediately to the technical area or dressing room to avoid problems with substitutes, spectators, or the match officials. A player who infringes the spirit of this Law should be sanctioned for unsporting behaviour i.e. delaying the restart of play.

Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment

3. Colours
Additional text
Undershirts must be:
• a single colour which is the same as the main colour of the shirt sleeve or
• a pattern/colours which exactly replicate(s) the shirt sleeve
Explanation
Manufacturers now make patterned undershirts whose sleeves are the same as the main shirt sleeve; these should be allowed as they help match officials’ decision-making.

4. Other equipment
Electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS)
Deleted text
The professional standard will be implemented in the transition period until 1 June 2019.
Explanation
The transition period ends on 1 June 2019.

Law 5 – The Referee

2. Decisions of the referee
Amended text
The referee may not change a restart decision on realising it is incorrect or on the advice of another match official if play has restarted or the referee has signalled the end of the first or second half (including extra time) and left the field of play or abandoned the match. However, if at the end of the half, the referee leaves the field of play to go to the referee review area (RRA) or to instruct the players to return to the field of play, this does not prevent a decision being changed for an incident which occurred before the end of the half.
Except as outlined in Law 12.3 and the VAR protocol, a disciplinary sanction may only be issued after play has restarted if another match official had identified and attempted to communicate the offence to the referee before play restarted; the restart associated with the sanction does not apply.
Explanation
• The word ‘terminated’ is not easily translated – ‘abandoned’ is better
• If, at the end of a half, the referee goes to the RRA or to tell the players to return to
the field a ‘review’ and a decision can be changed, if the offence occurred before the half ended
• Sometimes a match official indicates/communicates a YC/RC offence (e.g. AR flagging for violent conduct off the ball) but the referee does not see the indication/hear the communication until after play has restarted. The referee can still take the appropriate disciplinary action, but the restart associated with the offence does not apply

3. Powers and duties
Disciplinary action
Additional text
The referee:
• takes action against team officials who fail to act in a responsible manner and warns, or shows a yellow card for a caution or a red card for a sending-off from the field of play and its immediate surrounds, including the technical area; if the offender cannot be identified, the senior coach present in the technical area will receive the sanction. A medical team official who commits a sending-off offence may remain if (…)
Explanation
The experiment with YC/RC for misconduct by team officials has been successful and has revealed many benefits at all levels, including for young referees dealing with ‘difficult’ adult coaches. If the offender cannot be identified, the senior team official (usually the main coach) in the technical area will receive the YC/RC (as the person responsible for the other team officials).

3. Powers and duties
Injuries
Additional text
• An injured player may not be treated on the field of play (…). Exceptions to the requirement to leave the field of play are only when:
• (…)
• a penalty kick has been awarded and the injured player will be the kicker
Explanation
It is unfair if the kicker needs assessment/treatment and then has to leave the field and cannot take the penalty kick.

Law 7 – The Duration of the Match

3. Allowance for lost time
Amended text
Allowance is made by the referee in each half for all time lost in that half through:
• medical stoppages permitted by competition rules e.g. ’drinks’ breaks (which should not exceed one minute) and ‘cooling’ breaks (ninety seconds to three minutes)
Explanation
In the interests of player safety, competition rules may allow, in certain weather conditions (e.g. high humidity and temperatures), ‘cooling’ breaks (from ninety seconds to three minutes) to allow the body’s temperature to fall; they are different from ‘drinks’ breaks (maximum one minute) which are for re-hydration.

Law 8 – The Start and Restart of Play

1. Kick-off
Procedure
Amended text
• the team that wins the toss of a coin decides which goal it will to attack in the first half or to take the kick-off
• depending on the above, their opponents take the kick-off or decide which goal to attack in the first half
• the team that decided which goal to attack in the first half takes the kick-off to start the second half
Explanation
Recent Law changes have made the kick-off more dynamic (e.g. a goal can be scored directly from the kick-off) so captains winning the toss often ask to take the kick-off.

1. Kick-off
Offences and sanctions
Amended text
If the player taking the kick-off touches the ball again before it has touched another player, an indirect free kick, or for a handball offence a direct free kick, is awarded.
Explanation
Change to be consistent with re-wording of handball in Law 12.

2. Dropped ball
Procedure
New text
• The ball is dropped for the defending team goalkeeper in their penalty area if, when play was stopped:
• the ball was in the penalty area or
• the last touch of the ball was in the penalty area
• In all other cases, the referee drops the ball for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the position where it last touched a player, an outside agent or, as outlined in Law 9.1, a match official.
• All other players (of both teams) must remain at least 4m (4.5 yds) from the ball until it is in play.
The ball is in play when it touches the ground.
Explanation
The current dropped ball procedure often leads to a ‘manufactured’ restart which is ‘exploited’ unfairly (e.g. kicking the ball out for a throw-in deep in the opponents’ half) or an aggressive confrontation. Returning the ball to the team that last played it restores what was ‘lost’ when play was stopped, except in the penalty area where it is simpler to return the ball to the goalkeeper. To prevent that team gaining an unfair advantage, all players of both teams, except the player receiving the ball, must be at least 4 m (4.5 yds) away.

Law 9 – The Ball in and out of Play

1. Ball out of play
Amended text
The ball is out of play when:
• (…)
• it touches a match official, remains on the field of play and:
• a team starts a promising attack or
• the ball goes directly into the goal or
• the team in possession of the ball changes
In all these cases, play is restarted with a dropped ball.
Explanation
It can be very unfair if a team gains an advantage or scores a goal because the ball has hit a match official, especially the referee.

2. Ball in play
Amended text
The ball is in play at all other times when it touches a match official and when it rebounds off a goalpost, crossbar or corner flag post and remains on the field of play.
Explanation
Except as outlined in Law 9.1, the ball is in play when it touches a match official.

Law 10 – Determining the Outcome of a Match

1. Goal scored
Amended text
A goal is scored (…), provided that no offence has been committed by the team scoring the goal. If the goalkeeper throws the ball directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal kick is awarded.
Explanation
Change to be consistent with re-wording of handball in Law 12.

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct

1. Direct free kick
Amended text
• a handball offence (except for the goalkeeper within their penalty area)
Explanation
Change to be consistent with re-wording of handball in Law 12.

1. Direct free kick
Handling the ball
Amended text
It is an offence if a player:
• deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, including moving the hand/arm towards the ball
• gains possession/control of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then:
• scores in the opponents’ goal
• creates a goal-scoring opportunity
• scores in the opponents’ goal directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper
It is usually an offence if a player:
• touches the ball with their hand/arm when:
• the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger
• the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level (unless the player deliberately plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm)
The above offences apply even if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close.
Except for the above offences, it is not usually an offence if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm:
• directly from the player’s own head or body (including the foot)
• directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close
• if the hand/arm is close to the body and does not make the body unnaturally bigger
• when a player falls and the hand/arm is between the body and the ground to support the body, but not extended laterally or vertically away from the body
Explanation
Greater clarity is needed for handball, especially on those occasions when ‘nondeliberate’ handball is an offence. The re-wording follows a number of principles:
• football does not accept a goal being scored by a hand/arm (even if accidental)
• football expects a player to be penalised for handball if they gain possession/control of the ball from their hand/arm and gain a major advantage e.g. score or create a goal-scoring opportunity
• it is natural for a player to put their arm between their body and the ground for support when falling.
• having the hand/arm above shoulder height is rarely a ‘natural’ position and a player is ‘taking a risk’ by having the hand/arm in that position, including when sliding
• if the ball comes off the player’s body, or off another player (of either team) who is close by, onto the hand/arm it is often impossible to avoid contact with the ball.

1. Direct free kick
Handling the ball
Amended text
The goalkeeper has the same restrictions on handling the ball as any other player outside the penalty area. If the goalkeeper handles the ball inside their penalty area when not permitted to do so, an indirect free kick is awarded but there is no disciplinary sanction.
Explanation
Goalkeepers cannot handle the ball in their penalty area from a deliberate pass or throw-in from a team-mate, or having released the ball from their hands. If they do, it is an IDFK but this and any other ‘illegal’ handling does not incur any disciplinary sanction even if it stops a promising attack or denies a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.

2. Indirect free kick
Amended text
An indirect free kick is awarded if a goalkeeper, inside their penalty area, commits any of the following offences:
• controls the ball with the hand/arm for more than six seconds before releasing it
• touches the ball with the hand/arm after releasing it and before it has touched another player
• touches the ball with the hand/arm, unless the goalkeeper has clearly kicked or attempted to kick the ball to release it into play, after:
• it has been deliberately kicked to the goalkeeper by a team-mate •receiving it directly from a throw-in taken by a team-mate
Explanation
• Inclusion of ‘arm’ is consistent with other parts of the Law relating to handling the ball.
• When the GK clearly kicks or tries to kick the ball into play, this shows no intention to handle the ball so, if the ‘clearance’ attempt is unsuccessful, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball without committing an offence

3. Disciplinary action
Amended text
If, before entering the field of play at the start of the match, a player or team official commits a sending-off offence, the referee has the authority to prevent the player or team official taking part in the match (see Law 3.6); the referee will report any other misconduct.
A player or team official who commits a cautionable or sending-off offence, either on or off the field of play, is disciplined according to the offence.
Only a player, substitute, substituted player or team official may be shown the red or yellow card.
Explanation
Red and yellow cards may now be shown to team officials (see Law 5).

3. Disciplinary action
Delaying the restart of play to show a card
Additional text
Once the referee has decided to caution or send off a player, play must not be restarted until the sanction is administered, unless the non-offending team takes a quick free kick, has a clear goal-scoring opportunity and the referee has not started the disciplinary sanction procedure. The sanction is administered at the next stoppage; if the offence was denying the opposing team an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, the player is cautioned.
Explanation
Occasionally, an attack is stopped by a cautionable or sending-off offence and the attacking team takes a quick free kick which restores the ‘lost’ attack; it is clearly ‘unfair’ if this ‘new’ attack is stopped to issue the YC/RC. However, if the referee has distracted the offending team by starting the YC/RC procedure, the quick free kick is not allowed. For a DOGSO offence, the player will be cautioned and not sent-off because the attack was re-started (as when advantage is applied for a DOGSO offence).

3. Disciplinary action
Cautionable offences
Celebration of a goal
Additional text
A player must be cautioned, even if the goal is disallowed, for:
(…)
Explanation
Cautions for inappropriate goal celebrations apply even if the goal is disallowed as the impact (safety, image of the game etc.) is the same as if the goal was awarded.

3. Disciplinary action
Sending-off offences
Amended text
A player, substitute or substituted player who commits any of the following offences is sent off:
• denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by a handball offence (…)
Explanation
Change to be consistent with re-wording of handball in Law 12.

3. Disciplinary action
Denying a goal or obvious goal-scoring opportunity
Amended text
Where a player denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by a handball offence, the player is sent off wherever the offence occurs.
Explanation
Change to be consistent with re-wording of handball in Law 12.

3. Disciplinary action
Team officials
Amended text
Where an offence is committed and the offender cannot be identified, the senior team coach present in the technical area will receive the sanction.
Warning
The following offences should usually result in a warning; repeated or blatant offences should result in a caution or sending-off:
• entering the field of play in a respectful/non-confrontational manner
• failing to cooperate with a match official e.g. ignoring an instruction/request from assistant referee or the fourth official
• minor/low-level disagreement (by word or action) with a decision
• occasionally leaving the confines of the technical area without committing another offence
Caution
Caution offences include (but are not limited to):
• clearly/persistently not respecting the confines of their team’s technical area
• delaying the restart of play by their team •deliberately entering the technical area of the opposing team (non-confrontational)
• dissent by word or action including:
• throwing/kicking drinks bottles or other objects
• gestures which show a clear lack of respect for the match official(s) e.g. sarcastic clapping
• entering the referee review area (RRA)
• excessively/persistently gesturing for a red or yellow card
• excessively showing the TV signal for a VAR ‘review’
• gesturing or acting in a provocative or inflammatory manner
• persistent unacceptable behaviour (including repeated warning offences)
• showing a lack of respect for the game
Sending-off
Sending-off offences include (but are not limited to):
• delaying the restart of play by the opposing team e.g. holding onto the ball, kicking the ball away, obstructing the movement of a player
• deliberately leaving the technical area to:
• show dissent towards, or remonstrate with, a match official
• act in a provocative or inflammatory manner
• enter the opposing technical area in an aggressive or confrontational manner
• deliberately throwing/kicking an object onto the field of play
• entering the field of play to:
• confront a match official (including at half-time and full-time)
• interfere with play, an opposing player or match official
• entering the video operation room (VOR)
• physical or aggressive behaviour (including spitting or biting) towards an opposing player, substitute, team official, match official, spectator or any other person (e.g. ball boy/girl, security or competition official etc.)
• receiving a second caution in the same match
• using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
• using unauthorised electronic or communication equipment and/or behaving in an inappropriate manner as the result of using electronic or communication equipment
• violent conduct
Explanation
The correct use of the YC/RC for misconduct by team officials will be assisted by including the main warning /YC/RC offences in the Laws.

4. Restart of play after fouls and misconduct
Amended text
(…)
If the ball is in play and a player commits a physical offence inside the field of play against:
• an opponent – indirect or direct free kick or penalty kick
• a team-mate, substitute, substituted or sent off player, team official, match official – direct free kick or penalty kick
• any other person – dropped ball
All verbal offences are penalised with an indirect free kick.
Explanation
Confirmation of the different restarts for physical offences and that all verbal offences, even if directed at a match official, are penalised with an indirect free kick.

4. Restart of play after fouls and misconduct
Additional text
If an offence is committed outside the field of play by a player against a player, substitute, substituted player or team official of the player’s team, play is restarted with an indirect free kick on the boundary line closest to where the offence occurred.
Explanation
Clarification that the offence must be committed by a player against a team-mate or one of his/her team officials, substitutes etc. for an IDFK to be awarded.

4. Restart of play after fouls and misconduct
Amended text
If a player who is on or off the field of play throws or kicks an object (other than the match ball) at an opposing player, or throws or kicks an object (including a ball) at an opposing substitute, substituted or sent off player, team official, or a match official or the match ball, play is restarted with a direct free kick (…)
Explanation
Kicking an object at someone or the ball is punished the same as throwing an object.

Law 13 – Free Kicks

1. Types of free kicks
Indirect free kick signal
Additional text
The referee indicates an indirect free kick by raising the arm above the head; this signal is maintained until the kick has been taken and the ball touches another player, goes out of play or it is clear that a goal cannot be scored directly.
Explanation
Many indirect free kicks are too far from the opponents’ goal for a goal to be scored directly (e.g. IDFKs for offside); in these cases, the referee only needs to maintain the signal until the kick is taken because running whilst showing the signal is not easy.

2. Procedure
Amended text
• free kicks for offences involving a player entering, re-entering or leaving the field of play without permission are taken from the position of the ball when play was stopped. However, if a player commits an offence off the field of play, play is restarted with a free kick taken on the boundary line nearest to where the offence occurred; for direct free kick offences, a penalty kick is awarded if this is within the offender’s penalty area
Explanation
Text amended to be consistent with other parts of the Laws.

2. Procedure
Amended text
The ball:
• is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves
Explanation
The experiment where, at a defending team free kick in the penalty area, the ball is in play once it is kicked and does not have to leave the penalty area, has produced a faster and more constructive restart. Opponents must remain outside the penalty area and at least 9.15 m away until the ball is in play. The same change has been made to the goal kick (see Law 16).

2. Procedure
Additional text
Until the ball is in play, all opponents must remain:
• at least 9.15m (10 yds) from the ball, unless (…)
• outside the penalty area for free kicks inside the opponents’ penalty area
Where three or more defending team players form a ‘wall’, all attacking team players must remain at least 1 m (1 yd) from the ‘wall’ until the ball is in play.
Explanation
Attackers standing very close to, or in, the defensive ‘wall’ at a free kick often cause management problems and waste time. There is no legitimate tactical justification for attackers to be in the ‘wall’ and their presence is against the ‘spirit of the game’ and often damages the image of the game.

3. Offences and sanctions
Additional text (after 1st paragraph)
(…) for delaying the restart of play.
If, when a free kick is taken, an attacking team player is less than 1 m (1 yd) from a ‘wall’ formed by three or more defending team players, an indirect free kick is awarded.
Explanation
Confirmation of the restart if an attacking player encroaches within 1m of the ‘wall’.

3. Offences and sanctions
Amended text
If, when a free kick is taken by the defending team inside its penalty area, any opponents are inside the penalty area (…), touches or challenges for the ball before it is in play, the free kick is retaken.
Explanation
Confirmation of the restart for the above situation.

3. Offences and sanctions
Amended text
If, after the ball is in play, the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player, an indirect free kick is awarded; if the kicker commits a handball offence:
(…)
Explanation
Confirmation of the restart for the above situation.

Law 14 – The Penalty Kick

1. Procedure
Additional text
The ball must be stationary on the penalty mark and the goalposts, crossbar and goal net must not be moving.
(…)
The defending goalkeeper must remain on the goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts, without touching the goalposts, crossbar or goal net, until the ball has been kicked.
(…)
The player taking the penalty kick must kick the ball forward; backheeling is permitted provided the ball moves forward.
When the ball is kicked, the defending goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot touching, or in line with, the goal line.
Explanation
• The referee must not signal for the penalty kick to be taken if the goalkeeper is touching the goalposts, crossbar or net, or if they are moving them e.g. the goalkeeper has kicked/shaken them
• Goalkeepers are not permitted to stand in front of or behind the line. Allowing the goalkeeper to have only one foot touching the goal line (or, if jumping, in line with the goal line) when the penalty kick is taken is a more practical approach as it is easier to identify if both feet are not on the line. As the kicker can ‘stutter’ in the run, it is reasonable that the goalkeeper can take one step in anticipation of the kick.

2. Offences and sanctions
Additional text
Once the referee has signalled for a penalty kick to be taken, the kick must be taken; if it is not taken the referee may take disciplinary action before signalling again for the kick to be taken.
Explanation
If an offence occurs after the referee has signalled for a penalty kick to be taken but the kick is not taken, a free kick cannot be awarded as the ball has not been put into play; the necessary disciplinary action can still be taken.

2. Offences and sanctions
Amended text
• the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player:
• an indirect free kick (or direct free kick for a handball offence) is awarded
Explanation
Change to be consistent with re-wording of handball in Law 12.

Law 15 – The Throw-in

1. Procedure
Amended text
All opponents must stand at least 2m (2 yds) from the point on the touchline where the throw-in is to be taken.
Explanation
This covers situations where a player takes a throw-in some distance from the touchline.

2. Offences and sanctions
Amended text
If, after the ball is in play, the thrower touches the ball again before it has touched another player, an indirect free kick is awarded; if the thrower commits a handball offence:(…)
Explanation
Change to be consistent with re-wording of handball in Law 12.

Law 16 – The Goal Kick

1. Procedure
Amended text
• The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves
Explanation
The experiment that at a goal kick the ball is in play once it is kicked, and does not have to leave the penalty area, has created a faster and more dynamic/constructive restart to the game. It has reduced the time ‘lost/wasted’ including stopping the tactic of ‘wasting’ time when a defender deliberately plays the ball before it leaves the penalty area knowing that all that will happen is the goal kick will be retaken.
Opponents must remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in play.

2. Offences and sanctions
Deleted text
If the ball does not leave the penalty area or is touched by a player before it leaves the penalty area the kick is retaken.
Explanation
See above (Law 16.1)

2. Offences and sanctions
Amended text
If, after the ball is in play, the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player, an indirect free kick is awarded; if the kicker commits a handball offence:(…)
Explanation
Change to be consistent with re-wording of handball in Law 12.

2. Offences and sanctions
Amended text
If, when a goal kick is taken, any opponents are inside the penalty area because they did not have time to leave, the referee allows play to continue. If an opponent who is in the penalty area (…), touches or challenges for the ball before it is in play, the goal kick is retaken.
Explanation
Confirmation of the action the referee should take when an opponent is inside the penalty area when a goal kick is taken.

Law 17 – The Corner Kick

2. Offences and sanctions
Amended text
If, after the ball is in play, the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player, an indirect free kick is awarded; if the kicker commits a handball offence:(…)
Explanation
Change to be consistent with re-wording of handball in Law 12.

VAR Protocol

Reviewable match-changing decisions/incidents
The categories of decision/incident which may be reviewed in the event of a potential ‘clear and obvious error’ or ‘serious missed incident’ are:
a. Goal/no goal
• attacking team offence in the build-up to or scoring of the goal (handball, foul, offside etc.)
• ball out of play prior to the goal
• goal/no goal decisions
• offence by goalkeeper and/or kicker at the taking of a penalty kick or encroachment by an attacker or defender who becomes directly involved in play if the penalty kick rebounds from the goalpost, crossbar or goalkeeper
b. Penalty kick/no penalty kick
• attacking team offence in the build-up to the penalty incident (handball, foul, offside etc.)
• ball out of play prior to the incident
• location of offence (inside or outside the penalty area)
• penalty kick incorrectly awarded
• penalty kick offence not penalised
Explanation
Text simplified and bullet points moved as offences at the taking of a penalty kick are ‘goal/no goal’ incidents.

Procedures
Original decision
Amended text
• If an assistant referee delays a flag for an offence, the assistant referee must raise the flag if the  attacking team scores a goal, is awarded a penalty kick, free kick, corner kick or throw-in, or retains possession of the ball after the initial attack has ended; in all other situations, the assistant referee should decide whether or not to raise the flag, depending on the requirements of the game
Explanation
Clarification of when the assistant referee must raise a ‘delayed’ flag for a very close decision.

Procedures
Check
Amended text
• The VAR can ‘check’ the footage in normal speed (…) or to decide if it was a handball offence
Review
Amended text
• For subjective decisions e.g. intensity of a foul challenge, interference at offside, handball considerations an ‘on-field review’ (OFR) is often appropriate.
(…)
• The referee can request different (…) or to decide if it was a handball offence
Explanation
Change to be consistent with re-wording of handball in Law 12.

Players, substitutes and team officials
Amended text
(…)
• A player/substitute/substituted player/team official who excessively shows the TV signal or enters the RRA will be cautioned
• A player/substitute/substituted player/team official who enters the VOR will be sent off
Explanation
Reference to RC/YC for team officials, following change to Law 5 and 12.

Source: IFAB

Laws of the Game changes 2019/2020

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) held its 133rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Aberdeen, Scotland. The meeting was chaired by the President of the Scottish Football Association (SFA), Alan McRae and was attended by representatives from FIFA and the football associations of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Discussions focused on several areas aimed at fine-tuning the Laws for the benefit of the game as well as an assessment of the use of Video Assistant Referees (VARs). 
On the topic of defining handball, a decision was taken by The IFAB to provide a more precise and detailed definition for what constitutes handball, in particular with regard to the occasions when a non-deliberate/accidental handball will be penalized. For example 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. 
Following experiments in different parts of the world, the AGM also approved changes to the Laws of the Game related to a player being substituted having to leave the field of play at the nearest boundary line, yellow and red cards for misconduct by team officials and the ball not having to leave the penalty area at goal kicks and defending team free kicks in the penalty area. 
Additional approved Law changes included: measures to deal with attacking players causing problems in the defensive ‘wall’, changing the dropped ball procedure, giving a dropped ball in certain situations when the ball hits the referee and the goalkeeper only being required to have one foot on the line at a penalty kick. 
Following the historic decision taken a year ago at the 132nd IFAB AGM to approve the use of VARs, the FIFA President Gianni Infantino in unity with fellow members of The IFAB expressed their satisfaction with the significant impact and success VAR has had. Partly as a result of its success in the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in Russia, VAR is now an accepted part of football and has brought greater fairness to the game without any significant interruption with reviews on average taking just over a minute once every three games. The members were also updated on the current worldwide use of VARs and The IFAB/FIFA approval process which all competitions wishing to use VARs must complete and it was agreed that FIFA, together with The IFAB, will continue to drive and assist the global implementation of VAR. 
Plans were announced for a comprehensive digitalisation programme to support FIFA and The IFAB in the process of education of Refereeing and the Laws of the Game as well as throughout the football community. As part of The IFAB’s play fair! initiative the AGM also agreed to continue to explore ways in which the Laws of the Game can be used to improve on-field behaviour and, now that the major Law revision period is drawing to a close, increase football and the wider public’s understanding and appreciation of the Laws of the Game and the role of the referee. 

Source: IFAB

Clarifications to the Laws of the Game 2017/18

Following recent meetings of the Technical Subcommittee (TSC) and the Technical and Football Advisory Panels (TAP + FAP), the Board of Directors of The IFAB approved the following clarifications to the Laws of the Game 2017/18 which apply with immediate effect.


MODIFICATIONS TO THE LAWS OF THE GAME

Substitutions
• the number of substitutes each team is permitted to use up to a maximum of five, except in youth football where the maximum will be determined by the national association, confederation or FIFA.

Explanation
The revision of the Modifications aimed to increase participation but unintentionally reduced participation in some countries which already allowed more than 5 substitutes in youth football; this clarification therefore enables more than 5 substitutes to be used in youth football.

LAW 4 – THE PLAYERS’ EQUIPMENT

Slogans, statements, images and advertising
The following guidance (which will become part of Law 4 in 2018/19) is to help competition organisers, national FAs, confederations and FIFA decide what can be visible on players’ equipment.

Principles
• Law 4 applies to all equipment (including clothing) worn by players, substitutes and substituted players; its principles also apply to all team officials in the technical area
• The following are (usually) permitted:
- the player’s number, name, team crest/logo, initiative slogans/emblems promoting the game of football, respect and integrity as well as any advertising permitted by competition rules or national FA, confederation or FIFA regulations
- the facts of a match: teams, date, competition/event, venue
• Permitted slogans, statements or images should be confined to the shirt front, sleeve and/or armband
• In some cases, the slogan, statement or image might only appear on the captain’s armband

Interpreting the Law
When interpreting whether a slogan, statement or image is permissible, note should be taken of Law 12 (Fouls and Misconduct), which requires the referee to take action against a player who is guilty of:
• using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
• gesturing or acting in a provocative, derisory or inflammatory way

Any slogan, statement or image which falls into any of these categories is not permitted. Whilst ‘religious’ and ‘personal’ are relatively easily defined, ‘political’ is less clear but slogans, statements or images related to the following are not permitted:
• any person(s), living or dead (unless part of the official competition name)
• any local, regional, national or international political party/organisation/group, etc.
• any local, regional or national government or any of its departments, offices or functions
• any organisation which is discriminatory
• any organisation whose aims/actions are likely to offend a notable number of people
• any specific political act/event

When commemorating a significant national or international event, the sensibilities of the opposing team (including its supporters) and the general public should be carefully considered.

Competition rules may contain further restrictions/limitations, particularly in relation to the size, number and position of permitted slogans, statements, images and advertising. It is recommended that disputes relating to slogans, statements or images be resolved prior to a match/competition taking place.

LAW 11 – OFFSIDE

When judging an offside position, the first point of contact of the ‘play or touch’ of the ball should be used.

Explanation
This definition is required as the VAR use of slow motion shows a detectable difference between the first and last contact with the ball when it is ‘passed’.

LAW 12 – FOULS AND MISCONDUCT

Offence against a team-mate (or a team substitute/team official)
If a player commits an offence against a player, substitute or team official of his/her own team when the ball is in play:
• offence on the field of play – direct free kick (or penalty kick)
• offence off the field of play – indirect free kick (IDFK) on the boundary line closest to the offence if the referee stops play to issue a caution (YC) or dismissal (RC)

Two offences at the same time/in quick succession
Where two separate cautionable (YC) offences are committed (even in close proximity), they should result in 2 x cautions (YCs), for example if a player:
• enters the field of play without the required permission and commits a reckless tackle/stops a promising attack with a foul/handball, etc.

Handling the ball
Throwing an object is a direct free-kick offence (not a handling offence) so a goalkeeper who throws an object and hits the ball/an opponent in their own penalty is sanctioned with a penalty kick and a caution (YC) or dismissal (RC).

GLOSSARY

Kick
• The ball is kicked when a player makes contact with the foot and/or the ankle

Explanation
This clarifies the parts of the body used to ‘kick’ the ball (especially in terms of passing the ball to the goalkeeper etc.). The shin, knee or any other part of the body ‘play’ rather than ‘kick’ the ball.

Source: IFAB

Laws of the Game changes 2017/18

The following are the changes to the Laws of the Game for 2017/18, effective from 1 June 2017. For each change, the new/changed/additional wording is followed by an explanation for the change. 

All Laws
Offences and infringements
Many languages do not have different words for ‘offence’ and ‘infringement’, the difference is not clearly understood (even by English experts) and their use inconsistent e.g. a player can be an ‘offender’ but not an ‘infringer’. To make the Laws clearer and to assist translation, ‘offence’ and ‘offend’ replace ‘infringement’ and ‘infringe’.

Law 1 – The Field of Play
Field markings
The field of play must be rectangular and marked with continuous lines which must not be dangerous; artificial playing surface material may be used for the field markings on natural fields if it is not dangerous 

Explanation 
Artificial ‘turf’ (or similar) can be used for line markings on grass fields if it is not dangerous.

Law 3 – The Players
Number of substitutions
Official competitions
The number of substitutes, up to a maximum of five, which may be used in any match played in an official competition will be determined by FIFA, the confederation or the national football association except for Men and Women competitions involving the 1st teams of clubs in the top division or senior ‘A’ international teams, where the maximum is three substitutes.

Explanation 
FIFA, confederations and national football associations can allow up to a maximum of five substitutes in all competitions except at the highest level. 

Return substitutions 
The use of return substitutions is only permitted in youth, veterans, disability and grassroots football, subject to the agreement of the national football association, confederation or FIFA. 

Explanation 
The use of return substitutions, which are already allowed in grassroots football, has been extended to youth, veterans and disability football (subject to permission of the national FA). 

Substitution procedure 
The substitution is completed when a substitute enters the field of play; from that moment, the replaced player becomes a substituted player and the substitute becomes a player and can take any restart. 

Explanation 
Clearer wording. 

If a substitution is made during the half-time interval or before extra time, the procedure must be completed before the match restarts. If the referee is not informed, the named substitute may continue to play, no disciplinary action is taken and the matter is reported to the appropriate authorities. 

Explanation 
Clarifies that a substitution made at these times without informing the referee is not a cautionable (YC) offence. 

Offences and sanctions 
If a player changes places with the goalkeeper without the referee’s permission, the referee: 
• allows play to continue 
• cautions both players when the ball is next out of play, but not if the change occurred during half-time (including extra time) or the period between the end of the match and the start of extra time and/or kicks from the penalty mark 

Explanation 
Clarifies that changing places with the goalkeeper at these times without the referee being informed is not a cautionable (YC) offence. 

Player outside the field of play 
If a player who requires the referee’s permission to re-enter the field of play re-enters without the referee’s permission, the referee must: 
• stop play (not immediately if the player does not interfere with play or a match official or if the advantage can be applied) (…) 
• caution the player for entering the field of play without permission 
• order the player to leave the field of play (if necessary) 

If the referee stops play, it must be restarted: 
• with a direct free kick from the position of the interference 
• with an indirect free kick from the position of the ball when play was stopped if there was no interference 
• in accordance with Law 12 if the player infringes this Law 

Explanation 
A player who re-enters the field of play without the referee’s permission (when required) and interferes with the game is now punished with a direct free kick (as for a substitute/team official). It is unnecessary to require the offending player to leave the field of play after the caution (YC). 

Goal scored with an extra person on the field of play 
If, after a goal is scored, the referee realises, before play restarts, an extra person was on the field of play when the goal was scored, the referee must disallow the goal if the extra person was: 
• a player, substitute, substituted player, sent-off player or team official of the team that scored the goal; play is restarted with a direct free kick from the position of the extra person (…) 

Explanation 
This makes the Law consistent with the 2016/17 change which penalises a substitute/team official who enters the field of play without permission with a direct free kick. 

Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment 
Other equipment - head covers
Where head covers (excluding goalkeepers’ caps) are worn, they must: (…)

Explanation
Clarifies that goalkeepers’ caps are not included in the list of restrictions on head covers.

Other equipment - electronic communication 
Players (including substitutes/substituted and sent off players) are not permitted to wear or use any form of electronic or communication equipment (except where EPTS is allowed). The use of any form of electronic communication by team officials is not permitted except where it directly relates to player welfare or safety. 

Explanation 
The new wording makes it completely clear that apart from EPTS devices, players must not use or wear any form of electronic equipment or communication equipment (e.g. camera, microphone, earpiece etc.). This is to preserve the integrity of the game so that no one can communicate with players during the match, except the ‘transparent’ verbal tactical information from coaches. Player safety is very important so electronic communication is permitted for the safety and welfare of the players e.g. using a lapel microphone to ask for a stretcher, ambulance or using assessment equipment (e.g. iPad) for a head injury. 

Other equipment - electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS) 
Where wearable technology (WT) as part of electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS) is used in matches played in an official competition organised under the auspices of FIFA, confederations or national football associations, the technology attached to the player’s equipment must bear the following mark: IMS. 
This mark indicates that it has been officially tested and meets the minimum safety requirements of the International Match Standard developed by FIFA and approved by The IFAB. The institutes conducting the tests are subject to the approval of FIFA. The transition period runs until 31 May 2018. 

Explanation 
It is important that any EPTS used by players is certified as having satisfied established minimum safety criteria. This requirement is compulsory as from 1 June 2017; systems already in use have a transition period for compliance which ends on 31 May 2018. 

Law 5 – The Referee 
Decisions of the referee 
The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final. The decisions of the referee, and all other match officials, must always be respected. 

Explanation 
It is a fundamental principle of football that match officials’ decisions must always be respected (even when they are incorrect). 

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 (…) 

Explanation 
National FAs may now allow temporary dismissals in youth, veterans, disability and grassroots football. 

Disciplinary action 
The referee (…) 
• takes action against team officials who fail to act in a responsible manner and may expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds; a medical team official who commits a dismissible offence may remain if the team has no other medical person available, and act if a player needs medical attention. 

Explanation 
A team’s medical person who should be dismissed from the technical area is allowed to remain and treat injured players if the team does not have another medical person available. 

Law 7 – The Duration of the Match 
Half-time interval 
Players are entitled to an interval at half-time, not exceeding 15 minutes; a short drinks break is permitted at the interval of half-time in extra time. 

Explanation 
Consideration of players’ welfare means that it is sensible to allow the players a quick drinks break at the half-time interval in extra time; the break is not for coaching purposes. 

Law 8 – The Start and Restart of the Match 
The kick-off 
For every kick-off: 
• all players, except the player taking the kick-off, must be in their own half of the field of play (…) 
• a goal may be scored directly against the opponents from the kick-off; if the ball directly enters the kicker’s goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opponents 

Explanation 
• The ‘new’ kick-off (ball played backwards) is popular, but often the kicker has to step into the opponents’ half to take the kick; the new wording allows this. 
• It is a corner kick to the opponents if the kick-off goes directly into the kicker’s own goal. 

Law 10 – Determining the Outcome of a Match 
Winning team 
When competition rules require a winning team after a drawn match or home-and-away tie, the only permitted procedures to determine the winning team are: 
• away goals rule
• two equal periods of extra time not exceeding 15 minutes each
• kicks from the penalty mark 
A combination of the above procedures may be used.

Explanation
Clarifies that there must be two equal periods of extra time of no more than 15 minutes each and that a combination of different methods to determine the winner is permitted. 

Kicks from the Penalty Mark 
Players eligible for kicks from the penalty mark (KFPM) 
• With the exception of a substitute for a goalkeeper who is unable to continue, (…) 

Explanation 
Wording changed to be the same as in another part of Law 10. 

• A goalkeeper who is unable to continue before or during the kicks may be replaced by a player excluded to equalise the number of players or, if their team has not used its maximum permitted number of substitutes, a named substitute, but the replaced goalkeeper takes no further part and may not take a kick 

Explanation 
Clarifies that: 
• a player who has been excluded to equalise the numbers can replace the goalkeeper even if the team has used all its substitutes 
• a goalkeeper who is replaced has ended their involvement in the KFPM. 

When a kick is completed 
• The kick is completed when the ball stops moving, goes out of play or the referee stops play for any offence; the kicker may not play the ball a second time 

Explanation 
Clarifies that the kicker cannot play the ball a second time. 

Offence by the goalkeeper 
• If the goalkeeper commits an offence and, as a result, the kick is retaken, the goalkeeper must be cautioned. 

Explanation 
Clarifies that a goalkeeper who offends and causes a retake must be cautioned (YC). 

Offence by the kicker 
• If the kicker is penalised for an offence committed after the referee has signalled for the kick to be taken, that kick is recorded as missed and the kicker is cautioned. 

Explanation 
Clarifies that if the kicker offends the kick is forfeited (recorded as ‘missed’) i.e. no retake. 

Offence by the goalkeeper and kicker 
• If both the goalkeeper and kicker commit an offence at the same time: 
  • if the kick is missed or saved, the kick is retaken and both players cautioned 
  • if the kick is scored, the goal is disallowed, the kick is recorded as missed and the kicker cautioned

Explanation
Clarifies the outcome when both the goalkeeper and kicker offend at the same time, which is a rare situation as usually one will have offended first. There are different outcomes because:
• if the kick is missed/saved (because of the goalkeeper’s offence) both players have committed a cautionable (YC) offence so both are cautioned (YC) and the kick is retaken
• if the goal is scored, the goalkeeper has not committed a cautionable (YC) offence but as the kicker’s offence is cautionable (YC) it is ‘more serious’ (see Law 5) and is penalised.

Law 11 – Offside
Offside position from rebound 
A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by: 
• gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has: 
• rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar, match official or an opponent 

Explanation 
Clarifies that if the ball rebounds or is deflected off a match official to a player who was in an offside position, that player can be penalised for an offside offence. 

Definition of ‘save’ 
A ‘save’ is when a player stops, or attempts to stop, a ball which is going into or very close to their goal with any part of the body except the hands/arms (unless the goalkeeper within their penalty area). 

Explanation 
More accurate definition of a ‘save’. 

Offside offence 
In situations where: 
• a player moving from, or standing in, an offside position is in the way of an opponent and interferes with the movement of the opponent towards the ball this is an offside offence if it impacts on the ability of the opponent to play or challenge for the ball; if the player moves into the way of an opponent and impedes the opponent’s progress (e.g. blocks the opponent) the offence should be penalised under Law 12. 
• a player in an offside position is moving towards the ball with the intention of playing the ball and is fouled before playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the foul is penalised as it has occurred before the offside offence 
• an offence is committed against a player in an offside position who is already playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the offside offence is penalised as it has occurred before the foul challenge 

Explanation 
Clarification of situations where: 
• a player in an offside position away from the ball commits an offence which impacts on the ability of the defender(s) to play or challenge for the ball 
• an offence is committed against a player who is in an offside position. 

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconducts 
Indirect free kicks 
An indirect free kick is awarded if a player: 
• (…) 
• is guilty of dissent, or is using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures or other verbal offences 
• (…) 

Explanation 
Clarifies that verbal/gesture offences are punished with an indirect free kick even if there is a caution (YC) or sending-off (RC); some have wrongly interpreted the direct free kick for a ‘offences against a match official’ to include dissent etc, but it only applies to physical offences. 

Advantage after a red card 
Advantage should not be applied in situations involving serious foul play, violent conduct or a second cautionable offence unless there is a clear opportunity to score a goal. (…) if the player plays the ball or challenges/interferes with an opponent, the referee will stop play, send off the player and restart with an indirect free kick, unless the player committed a more serious offence. 

Explanation 
Clarifies that if a player commits a sending-off (RC) offence and the referee plays the advantage, if the player then commits another offence it should be penalised e.g. the player fouls an opponent. 

Cautions for unsporting behaviour 
There are different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour, including if a player: 
• commits a foul or handles the ball to interfere with or stop a promising attack, except where the referee awards a penalty kick for an offence which was an attempt to play the ball 

Explanation 
Removal of a caution (YC) for stopping a promising attack when a penalty kick is awarded for an offence which was an attempt to play the ball is consistent with a caution (YC), not a sending-off (RC) if the referee awards a penalty kick for a DOGSO offence which is an attempt to play the ball.. 

There are different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour, including if a player: 
• denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by an offence which was an attempt to play the ball and the referee awards a penalty kick 

Explanation 
As a DOGSO offence in the penalty area involving an attempt to play the ball is now punished with a caution (YC) and not a sending-off (RC) this offence is added to the list of cautionable (YC) offences. 

Celebration of a goal 
A player must be cautioned for: 
• climbing onto a perimeter fence and/or approaching the spectators in a manner which causes safety and/or security issues 
• gesturing or acting in a provocative, derisory or inflammatory way 

Explanation 
Any action which causes safety/security concerns, or is provocative etc. must be cautioned (YC). 

Sending-off offences 
A player, substitute or substituted player who commits any of the following offences is sent off: 
• denying a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent whose overall movement is towards the offender’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick (unless as outlined below). 

Explanation 
• Clarifies that denying a goal by committing an offence is a sending-off (RC) offence. 
• Use of ‘offender’ clarifies the text, which was potentially misleading/incorrect. 
• Use of ‘overall movement’ clarifies that if, in the final stage, the attacker moves diagonally to go past a goalkeeper/defender an obvious goal-scoring opportunity can still exist. 

Sending-off offences 
Where a player commits an offence against an opponent which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offender is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball; in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling, pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.) the offending player must be sent off. 

Explanation 
Clearer wording – no change in the Law or its application. 

DOGSO by someone entering the field of play 
A player, sent off player, substitute or substituted player who enters the field of play without the required referee’s permission and interferes with play or an opponent and denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity is guilty of a sending-off offence. 

Explanation 
Clarifies that someone who enters the field of play without the referee’s permission (including when a player requires permission to return to the field e.g. after an injury) and prevents a goal, or denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, has committing a sending-off (RC) offence, even if no other offence is committed. 

Restart of play after fouls and misconduct 
If the ball is in play and a player commits an offence inside the field of play: 
• (…) 
• a team-mate, substitute, substituted or sent off player, team official or match official – a direct free kick or penalty kick (…) 

If, when the ball is in play: 
• a player commits an offence against a match official or an opposing player, substitute, substituted or sent off player, or team official outside the field of play or 
• a substitute, substituted or sent off player, or team official commits an offence against, or interferes with, an opposing player or match official outside the field of play, 
play is restarted with a free kick on the boundary line nearest to where the offence/interference occurred; a penalty kick is awarded if this is a direct free kick offence within the offender’s penalty area. 

Explanation 
• It is a direct free kick if an offence is committed on the field of play against a sent-off player. 
• A player who commits an offence against an opposing player/substitute/team official or match official off the field of play is penalised with a free kick on the boundary line (e.g. a player strikes an opposing substitute/team official). 
• A substitute/team official who commits an offence against an opposing player or match official off the field is penalised with a free kick on the boundary line (e.g. a substitute strikes a player waiting to return after injury or trips a player who has temporarily left the field of play to chase the ball). 
• This Law does not apply for offences between substitutes or team official - it is only for an offence by or against one of the players. 

Throwing objects 
If a player standing on or off the field of play throws an object (including the ball) at an opposing player, substitute, substituted or sent off player, or team official, match official or the ball, play is restarted with a direct free kick from the position where the object stuck or would have struck the person or the ball. If this position is off the field of play, the free kick is taken on the nearest point on the boundary line; a penalty kick is awarded if this is within the offender’s penalty area. 

If a substitute, substituted or sent off player, player temporarily off the field of play or team official throws or kicks an object onto the field of play and it interferes with play, an opponent or match official, play is restarted with a direct free kick (or penalty kick) where the object interfered with play or struck or would have struck the opponent, match official or the ball. 

In all cases, the referee takes the appropriate disciplinary action: 
• reckless - caution the offender for unsporting behaviour 
• using excessive force - send off the offender for violent conduct 

Explanation 
• If a player throws an object at someone off the field of play the free kick is awarded on the boundary line nearest to where the object hit or would have hit the person; this will be a penalty kick if within the offender’s penalty area. 
• The outcome/impact of throwing or kicking an object onto the field of play is the same as if the person committed the offence directly, so the punishment is the same. 

Law 13 – Free Kicks 
Attacking player in or entering the penalty area 
If, when a free kick is taken quickly by the defending team from inside its penalty area, any opponents are inside the penalty area because they did not have time to leave, the referee allows play to continue. If an opponent who is in the penalty area when the free kick is taken, or enters the penalty area before the ball is in play, touches or challenges for the ball before it has touched another player, the free kick is retaken.

Explanation
This change makes the requirements for a defensive free kick in the penalty area consistent with the requirements at a goal kick (Law 16).

Law 14 – The Penalty Kick
Identifying the kicker
The player taking the penalty kick must be clearly identified.

Explanation
Clearer text.

Additional time for a penalty kick 
Additional time is allowed for a penalty kick to be taken at the end of each half of the match and extra time. When additional time is allowed, the penalty kick is completed when, after the kick has been taken, the ball stops moving, goes out of play, is played by any player (including the kicker) other than the defending goalkeeper, or the referee stops play for an offence by the kicker or the kicker’s team. If a defending team player (including the goalkeeper) commits an offence and the penalty is missed/saved, the penalty is retaken.

Explanation
Clarifies when a penalty is completed when time has been extended for the penalty kick to be taken.

Offence by goalkeeper and kicker (see Law 10) 
• If both the goalkeeper and kicker commit an offence at the same time:: 
• if the kick is missed or saved, the kick is retaken and both players cautioned 
• if the kick is scored, the goal is disallowed, the kicker is cautioned and play restarts with an indirect free kick to the defending team 

Explanation
Clarifies the outcome when both the goalkeeper and kicker offend at the same time, which is rare as usually one will have clearly been the first to offend. There are different outcomes because:
• if the kick is missed/saved (because of the goalkeeper’s offence) both players have committed a cautionable (YC) offence
• if a goal is scored the goalkeeper has not committed a cautionable (YC) offence but as the kicker’s offence is cautionable (YC) it is ‘more serious’ (see Law 5) and is therefore penalised.

Interference with a penalty kick 
The ball is touched by an outside agent as it moves forward: 
• the kick is retaken unless the ball is going into the goal and the interference does not prevent the goalkeeper or a defending player playing the ball, in which case the goal is awarded if the ball enters the goal (even if contact was made with the ball) unless the ball enters the opponents’ goal. 

Explanation 
Clarifies what should happen if there is interference with a ball going into the goal at a penalty kick. 

Law 16 – The Goal Kick 
Attacking player in or entering the penalty area 
If an opponent who is in the penalty area when the goal kick is taken, or enters the penalty area before the ball is in play, touches or challenges for the ball before it has touched another player, the goal kick is retaken. 

Explanation 
Clarifies the action to be taken if a player enters the penalty area before the ball is in play. 

Practical Guidelines for Match Officials 

Positioning, Movement and Teamwork 
Kicks from the penalty mark 
(…) If there are AARs, they must be positioned at each intersection of the goal line and the goal area, to the right and left of the goal respectively, except where GLT is in use when only one AAR is required. AAR2 and AR1 should monitor the players in the centre circle and AR2 and the Fourth Official should monitor the technical areas. 

Explanation 
Only one AAR is needed (to monitor the goalkeeper’s movement) when GLT is used. 

Penalty kick 
Where there are AARs, the AAR must be positioned at the intersection of the goal line and the goal area (…) 

Body language, Communication and Whistle 
Assistant Referees 
Corner kick/goal kick 
When the ball wholly passes over the goal line the AR raises the flag with the right hand (better line of vision) to inform the referee that the ball is out of play and then if it is: 
• near to the AR - indicate whether it is a goal kick or a corner kick 
• far from the AR - make eye contact and follow the referee’s decision 

When the ball clearly passes over the goal line the AR does not need to raise the flag to indicate that the ball has left the field of play. If the goal kick or corner kick decision is obvious, it is not necessary to give a signal, especially when the referee gives a signal. 

Explanation 
The AR does not need to signal for a very clear goal kick or corner kick, especially if the referee has already signalled and/or the ball goes out of play on the opposite side of the goal from the AR. 

Source: IFAB

131st IFAB AGM agrees fairer game strategy

The 131st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of The IFAB took place at Wembley Stadium and was chaired by Greg Clarke, Chairman of The Football Association. The British representatives as well as FIFA’s delegation unanimously approved a future IFAB strategy, using the Laws of the Game to develop the game by focusing on fairness and integrity, increasing universality and inclusion, and embracing technology. A major initial feature of the strategy will be the behaviour of players and, in particular, the role of the captain and how her/his responsibilities could be enhanced to help improve on-field behaviour and create better communication between players and referees. Methods to tackle time-wasting will also be considered as it is an area about which many fans complain. The members strongly supported this initiative as the next step in delivering “what football wants” following the extensive revision of the Laws of the Game. Other major areas which The IFAB will focus on include handball and a potentially fairer system for kicks from the penalty mark.
Central to the IFAB strategy is also a robust evaluation process for potential future Law changes and initiatives. As part of the ‘what football wants’ approach, the AGM extended the “Modifications” section of the Laws allowing national football associations more freedom to modify the organisational Laws for the lower levels of football e.g. number of substitutions and duration of play, to help them develop their domestic football by encouraging more people to take part. National football associations will decide at which levels the modifications are applied in their domestic football. This does not include competitions involving the first team of clubs in the top division or senior ‘A’ international teams. Additionally, as part of “Modifications”, the proposals to allow temporary dismissals (sin bins) for yellow card offences were approved for youth, grassroots and disability football, as it is the case for return substitutions. The AGM also approved the use of electronic communication systems in the technical area for player welfare and safety, acknowledging the importance of technology in assessing potential injuries with the help of medical data and video material.
On the topic of video assistant referees (VARs), the AGM was updated on the first phase of experiments, including reports from the workshops and more than 20 test matches organised to test the VAR protocol which was approved one year ago. The members also received detailed information on the key learning areas which will be incorporated into the ‘live’ experiments starting in almost 20 competitions from around the world in 2017.
The ‘success’ of the change from a red to yellow card for a penalty awarded for the denial of a goal-scoring opportunity if there was an attempt to play the ball, led the members to extend the principle by removing a yellow card for a penalty kick awarded for a ‘stopping a promising attack’ if the offence was an attempt to play the ball.
The AGM also approved the development of the first minimum safety standard for electronic performance and tracking systems (EPTS) which will regulate the safety of devices worn by players on the field of play.
The modifications to the Laws of the Game made at this AGM will come into effect on 1 June 2017, except for competitions which have started before that date.
The 132nd Annual General Meeting will be hosted by FIFA in February or March 2018

Source: IFAB