Premier League rule changes that will come into effect next season
Another Premier League season full of thrills and spills has come to an end - but not without controversy.
With every week of results comes another set of decisions left to be debated.
Should this have been given? What was the ref thinking there? Surely that was a penalty?!
One thing all Premier League clubs and their fans will be pleased to know, is that the IFAB (International Football Association Board) have now approved several changes to the Laws of the Game ahead of next season.
With any luck these should tighten up the games grey areas to leave us nodding in agreement more so than crying in disbelief.
Here's what will change for the start of the 2019-20 campaign...
From next season, if the ball hits an attackers arm in the build-up to a goal - be it accidental or otherwise - the goal will be disallowed.
Hardly rocket science, but it should help avoid any Fernando Llorente-style discussions going forward.
In addition, defending teams will be awarded a free-kick if an inadvertent handball creates an advantage for the opposing team.
Old fashioned drop balls are a thing of the past, with the process of sending the ball back to the last team in possession now the due procedure.
However IFAB have a gripe about their current 'manufactured' nature.
"The current dropped ball procedure often leads to a ‘manufactured’ restart which is ‘exploited’ unfairly or an aggressive confrontation," the IFAB explained.
"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 4m (4.5 yds) away."
This is an interesting one.
From next season onwards, whenever a player is substituted, they no longer have to leave the field near to the dugouts.
Instead they must leave the field at the nearest point, thus avoiding any pesky time-wasters who stroll off nonchalantly late on.
How long will it be until someone doesn't pay attention and passes the ball to their teammate walking round the pitch perimeter though is another question.
Attackers are no longer allowed in the wall at free kicks.
The wall does have to contain at least three players however, at which point all attackers must be at least a metre away.
IFAB hold pretty strong views on this one.
"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," an IFAB statement explained.
The goalkeepers staying on the line at penalties rule is one that very rarely seems to be enforced fully.
However IFAB are now stating that from next season keepers must have one foot on the line.
Not only that, but they are also forbidden from touching the posts before the kick.
In other words - less of the mind games.
Cards for coaches
And finally, a welcome addition to the rule changes will now see coaches dealt the same punishment as players, with referees allowed to brandish yellow and red cards to managers and backroom staff.
Perhaps we will see less coaches sent to the stands. Or an increase in cards dished out.
Either way, there will now be a naughty list for managers.
Shame Jose's no longer about, eh?
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