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1st June 2019: The new rules of football

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Since the June 1st 2019, new rules were introduced to the world of football, the new rules will be implemented for the upcoming leagues: FIFA Women’s World Cup, Euro 21, African Cup of Nations, Copa America.

At the 133rd Annual General Assembly, the IFAB established several new rules concerning handball specifications, the position of goalkeepers during penalties, the arrangement of the wall during free kicks, replacements, goalkicks and sanctions for staff.

These new rules concern firstly the handballs and their intentionality on the part of the player, this debate has been controversial since the introduction of the VAR and several penalties that have been granted after unclear situations such as the penaltly of the 2018 World Cup final against France.

With regard to handballs, the IFAB wanted to clarify the situations for which the player should be sanctioned or not.

A free kick shall be awarded if:

  • the player scores with his hand or arm, even unintentionally
  • the player takes control of the ball after touching it with his hand or arm and scores or obtains a goalscoring opportunity
  • the player touches the ball with his arm after enlarging the surface of his body in an unnatural way.
  • the player touches the ball with his hand or arm above the shoulder

However, no fault will be reported if:

  • the player makes an unintentional hand after the ball bounces off another part of his body or another player too close to prevent contact with the hand or arm
  • if the player falls and accidentally touches the ball with his hand or arm.

Concerning the other rules:

  • No teammate of the shooter shall be allowed to stick to the wall (if it is composed of at least three players) on a free kick, the minimum distance shall be 1 metre.
  • During a penalty, the goalkeeper will no longer be required to keep both feet on the line, only one is sufficient.
  • During changes, the replaced player must leave by the boundaries of the field closest to home and no longer necessarily by the midline, the objective being to limit time saving techniques.
  • The in-between to restart play will no longer be played between two players, the ball will be given to only one player: the goalkeeper in the event of a stoppage of play in the area, the player of the team who was in possession of the ball before the stoppage of play in the opposite case.
  • A goal shall not be scored if the last person to touch the ball is the referee.
  • During a goal-kick, the ball will be in play as soon as it has been played, without necessarily having to cross the penalty area line.
  • A staff member can now be sanctioned (yellow card) or excluded (red card) and in case of behaviour contrary to the rules of the game. If the offender cannot be identified, the coach will receive the sanction.

This is not the first time that the rules have been changed by the administrators to improve a fair game and will probably not be the last….