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

Alteration to Law 12 – Denial of a goal-scoring opportunity

After a long debate, the IFAB unanimously approved new wording for Law 12 as submitted by UEFA and agreed that it should be implemented globally for a two-year trial period followed by a review by the IFAB.
Denying a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity
Where a player denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by a deliberate handball offence the player is sent off wherever the offence occurs. 
Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offending player is cautioned unless: 
- The offence is holding, pulling or pushing or 
- The offending player does not attempt to play the ball or there is no possibility for the player making the challenge to play the ball or 
- The offence is one which is punishable by a red card wherever it occurs on the field of play (e.g. serious foul play, violent conduct, etc.) 
In all the above circumstances the player is sent off.


A landmark decision by the International Football Association Board (The IFAB) at its 130th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Cardiff, Wales, will pave the way for the introduction of live experiments with video assistant referees in football. Today’s meeting, held at the St David’s Hotel and chaired by the President of the Football Association of Wales David Griffiths, also saw the most substantial revision of the Laws of the Game get the green light. 
The first item on the agenda was the comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game – an 18-month project of The IFAB Technical Sub-Committee, led by former English Premier League referee David Elleray. The IFAB unanimously approved the revision, which they identified as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to address anomalies and inconsistences in the Laws. While the main focus is improving the structure and phraseology – with each Law and interpretation now combined, the word count halved and gender neutral language used throughout – some of the 94 edits also include Law changes that are based on common sense and meeting the needs of the modern game. For example, the ball will be able to move in any direction from the kick-off rather than only moving forward (Law 8), while a player who is injured by a challenge punished by a yellow/red card can now have a quick assessment/treatment on the field rather than having to leave the field which gave the offending team a numerical advantage (Law 5). It represents the most comprehensive revision of the Laws ever undertaken in The IFAB’s 130-year history.
With regard to video assistance for match officials, The IFAB approved in principle a detailed set of protocols for the experiments and agreed they should be conducted for a minimum of two years in order to identify the advantages, disadvantages and worst-case scenarios. The set of protocols were drawn up by The IFAB’s Technical Sub-Committee, with support from FIFA’s Technology Innovation Department, and followed discussions with the Football Advisory Panel and Technical Advisory Panel as well as football associations, leagues, other sports and technology providers. The IFAB agreed that live experiments should be implemented at the latest for the 2017/18 season. The expectation is not to achieve 100 per cent accuracy in decisions for every single incident, but to avoid clearly incorrect decisions that are pre-defined “game-changing” situations – goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and mistaken identity. The IFAB agreed to allow one type of experiment, which will involve a video assistant referee having access to video replays during the match and either reviewing an incident on request by the referee, or communicating with the referee proactively about an incident that he/she may have missed (further information available here). The experiments will be managed and overseen by The IFAB with the support of FIFA. A university will be selected to conduct a research study, which will focus not only on refereeing but also on the impact on the game itself, including the emotions of the stakeholders, in order to provide The IFAB with a strong basis for the decision-making process. The IFAB will meet with interested competition organisers and FIFA in the coming weeks in order to define a schedule for the next 24 months. This will include a pre-testing phase with an experiment done in a controlled ‘non-live’ environment as well as referee trainings, workshops and onsite preparation for experiments to be implemented in two testing phases across a number of competitions/leagues. The experiments of testing phase two will be modified based on findings of testing phase one. Further information will follow once the schedule is defined. 
The IFAB also agreed to allow experimentation with a fourth substitution in extra time within a competition/league(s) still to be decided on. The aim will be to see whether there is player welfare benefit, whether the fourth substitute is used tactically or genuinely for player welfare, whether the potential use of all four substitutes during extra time (and thus change more than a third of the team) has an unfair impact. 
The modifications to the Laws of the Game made at today’s AGM will come into effect on 1 June 2016.

Source: IFAB/FIFA

Laws of the Game revision and video assistance

The International Football Association Board (The IFAB) has taken a major step forward towards experimentation with video assistance for match officials. During its Annual Business Meeting (ABM) held at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, the Board of Directors gave a strong recommendation for experiments to be given the green light at the 130th Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be held in Cardiff from 4 to 6 March 2016. The protocols for such experiments were analysed today and are set to be finalised before the AGM, which would pave the way for live trials to begin as soon as the framework and timelines have been confirmed. A number of football associations and competition organisers have already expressed an interest in running trials. Critical to the development of the protocols was the feedback of the Football Advisory Panel and the Technical Advisory Panel, which were set up in 2014 to support The IFAB with greater expertise before decisions are taken in order to improve the way in which the global football community helps to shape the Laws of the Game. 
In another important development, The IFAB ABM approved a comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game to make them more “user-friendly”. By halving the word count, the new format improves the structure, layout, terminology, phrasing and consistency in order to increase the universality and understanding of the Laws. The 2016/2017 edition of the Laws is set to include the changes, subject to ratification at the AGM in March. It represents the most comprehensive revision of the Laws ever undertaken in The IFAB’s history. 
The members also received an update on the ongoing process to introduce a Quality Programme for electronic performance and tracking systems. The consultation process with key stakeholders such as leagues, clubs, national teams, FIFPro as well as industry representatives is continuing, with the first draft of a global standard set to be presented to The IFAB later this year. This will include minimum safety requirements for players, provisions around data protection, as well as a high quality standard for professional football focusing on performance requirements of the systems. 
Other topics discussed included “triple punishment”, the use of “sin bins” and “Law 3 – The Number of Players”, which are all set to be discussed further at the AGM. 

Source: FIFA/IFAB