The International FA Board (The IFAB) approved changes to the Laws of the Game for 2019/2020. The Laws of the Game are authorized on an annual basis by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and provided by the Fédération Internationale de Football Associations (FIFA). US Soccer has implemented them and you can find plenty of details at the Referee Program page of USsoccer.com
A three-page document that looks at the 2019/20 Laws of the Game and notes the Changes has been circulated among referees and clubs across Missouri. The new rules became effective for all USYSA games, including all sanctioned club games, on August 1st. You have seen, and likely questioned, some of them with the start of the English Premier League or even your early club matches. Let’s learn more about the changes.
Purchase Laws of the Game 2019/2020 at the Referee Store for $8.95 + $5 shipping.
Johann Arnason, a college referee and the Executive Director for St. Louis Youth Soccer League (SLYSA) was kind enough to share the Summary Sheet with me. You can Laws of the Game 2019-2020 Changes or read them below.
One additional reminder:
No child has ever said, “I love it when my dad gets into a fight with the other team’s fans.”
No kid has ever said, “I’m so proud of my mom when she yells at the referee.”
And no player has ever said, “It’s great when my dad coaches me from the sidelines, especially when he tells me to do the opposite of what my coach wants me to do.”
Let’s Let Kids be Kids. Now let’s do our part and become better educated fans.
• Yellow and red cards for misconduct by team officials
• A player being substituted leaving the field of play at the nearest point on the boundary line
• At a goal kick and a free kick for the defending team in their own penalty area
If any coach, assistant coach, athletic trainer or representative of the team on the sidelines is found to be guilty of misconduct but the referee cannot distinguish who committed the infraction, the highest-ranking team official will receive the Yellow/Red Card.
Anyone who is being substituted needs to leave at the closest point of the touchline/goal line. If the halfway point is the closest point, please go off there. If you are injured or the safest point to exit the field is not the nearest, then the referee will indicate so and you can leave at the halfway point. This change is trying to eliminate the practice of wasting time by substituting a player who is on the opposite side of the field.
In the past, the team taking the goal kick could not touch the ball until it had left the penalty area. Now, a player from the team in possession may reside in or enter the penalty area and touch the ball as soon as it is in play. For the ball to considered be in play it must have been kicked and clearly moved. This change is meant to speed up the play of the game.
Does this change affect the buildout line?
No, the spirit of the build-out line is still in effect in that players on the team not in possession must move behind the buildout line until the ball is considered in play. The ball is considered in play when it has been kicked and has clearly moved. Players for the team in possession of the goal kick may choose to position themselves inside the penalty area. If a team chooses to take a goal kick or free kick quickly, they are doing so at their own risk as the normal build out line rules still apply.
If the ball touches the referee or another match official and goes into the goal, team possession changes or an attack for the opponents begins, a dropped ball is awarded. If play is stopped inside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the goalkeeper (no other player participates).
If play is stopped outside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the point of the last touch of the ball
In all cases, all the other players of both teams must be 4.5 yards away from the dropped ball.
When there is a ‘wall’ of three or more defenders, attackers are not allowed within 1 yard of the wall.
If an attacker is inside that 1-yard area when the kick is taken, the defending team is given an Indirect Free Kick from the spot of the infraction.
Indirect Free Kicks
Once the kick has been taken and it is clear that a goal will not be scored from the kick, there is no more need for a signal.
Quick Free Kicks and Red/Yellow Cards
If a free kick is taken quickly, before an official has the chance to issue a Yellow or Red Card, and a goal-scoring opportunity is created, the referee can award the Yellow Card/Red Card at the next convenient point.
If you kick an object at the ball, an opponent or a match official the other team will receive a Direct Free Kick from the spot of the infraction.
If a goal is disallowed, any Yellow Card given for an ‘illegal’ goal celebration still stands.
The following ‘handball’ situations, even accidental, will be a free kick
o The ball goes hits a player’s hand or arm and goes into the goal off an attacker.
o A player gains control/possession after the ball has touched their hand/arm and scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity
o The ball touches a player’s hand/arm where the player has tried to block the ball by extending their arms away from their body.
o The ball touches a player’s hand/arm when it is above their shoulder (unless the player has deliberately played the ball which then touches their hand/arm)
The following ‘handball’ situations will not usually be a free kick:
o The ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from:
§ Their own head/body/foot, if the player has not made themselves unnaturally bigger
§ The head/body/foot of another player who is close/near, if the player has not made themselves unnaturally bigger
o The ball touches a player’s hand/arm which is close to their body and has not made their body unnaturally bigger
o If a player is falling and the ball touches their hand/arm which is between their body and the ground to support the body (not extended to make the body bigger)
The goalkeeper cannot score by throwing the ball into the opponent’s goal.
If a goalkeeper attempts to play the ball by legal means on a throw-in or a deliberate pass from a teammate (heading, kicking) but the attempt is misplayed, the goalkeeper can play the ball with his/her hands.
If an attacking team’s player is injured on the play they may have a quick treatment/assessment and then take the kick
The goalkeeper cannot be touching the goalposts, crossbar or nets and cannot move until the ball is in play.
The goalkeeper only needs to have one part of one foot on the goal line when the kick is taken.
If an offense occurs between when the penalty is declared and before the kick is taken, the offender may receive a Yellow Card/Red Card but the penalty kick will still be taken.
Players may wear multi-colored or patterned undershirts, if the undershirts are the same pattern or color as the main shirt.
All verbal offenses will be penalized with at least an Indirect Free Kick.