Changes to the laws of the game

There have been some rule changes (changes to the laws-of-the-game) for the upcoming 2016/17 season. Here is a simple outline of the main changes/clarifications. For more detail here is a link to the FIFA laws of the Game. Changes are explained in more detail starting on page 116.  Detailed explanations of the changes (starts on page 116)

All referees, coaches and players are expected to learn and understand the new rules as they came into effect as of Wednesday 1st June 2016 for the forthcoming season. One of the more notable changes is an alteration to Law 12, the denial of a goal scoring opportunity (DOGSO) in the penalty area. If the referee deems the foul to have been accidental or a genuine attempt to play the ball, the player is cautioned, where they were previously sent off.

Law 01 – The Field of Play

• Artificial and natural surfaces may not be combined on the field

• Competitions may determine field size for their competitions (within Law)

• All commercial advertising on the ground must be at least 1m (1yd) from boundary lines

• Logos/emblems of FAs, competitions etc... allowed on corner flags (no advertising)

Law 02 – The Ball


Law 03 – The Players (new title)

• A match may not start/continue if a team has fewer than 7 players

• Substitutes may take a restart but must first step onto the field

• Clarifies situation when a player is sent off before/after kick-off

• Direct FK (or penalty) if a substitute/team official interferes with play

• If something/someone (other than a player) touches a ball as it goes into the goal the referee can award the goal if the touch had no impact on the defenders

• If a goal is scored with an extra person on the field and referee has restarted play the goal stands and match continues

Law 04 – The Players’ Equipment

• Any tape or other material on/covering socks must be same color as the sock

• Player losing footwear/shinguard accidentally can play on until next stoppage

• Undershorts must be color of shorts or hem; team must all wear same color

• Electronic communication with substitutes is forbidden

• Player can return during play after changing/correcting equipment, once equipment has been checked (by referee, fourth official or AR) and referee signals

Law 05 – The Referee

• Decision can not be changed if play restarted or referee has left the field (HT+FT)

• If several offences occur at the same time the most serious is punished

• Referee can send a player off from pre-match pitch inspection onwards

• Referee can only use RC + YC after entering the field at start of the match

• Player injured by RC/YC foul can be quickly assessed/ treated and stay on field

• The equipment a referee can or may be allowed to use

• Diagrams of referee signals included (from Guidelines section)

Law 06 – The Other Match Officials (new title)

• More details about the duties of the assistants, AARs, fourth official

• Diagrams of assistant referee signals included (from Guidelines section)

Law 07 – The Duration of the Match

• More reasons for additional time (e.g. medical drinks breaks)

Law 08 – The Start and Restart of Play

• All restarts included (previously only kick-off and dropped ball)

• Ball must clearly move to be in play for all kicked restarts

• Ball can be kicked in any direction at kick-off (previously had to go forward)

• Referee can not ‘manufacture’ outcome of a dropped ball

Law 09 – The Ball in and out of Play

• If a ball rebounds off a match official it is in play unless it has wholly passed over a boundary line

Law 10 – Determining the Outcome of a Match (new title)

Kicks from the penalty mark:

• Referee will toss a coin to choose the goal (unless weather, safety, etc.)

• Player temporarily off the field (e.g. injured) at final whistle can take part

• Both teams must have same number of players before and during the kicks

• Clear statement of when a kick is over

• Kicks not delayed if player leaves the field; if not back in time kick is forfeited

Law 11 – Offside

• Halfway line ‘neutral’ for offside; player must be in opponents’ half

• Players’ arms not considered when judging offside position (including goalkeeper)

• Offside FK always taken where offence occurs (even in own half)

• Defender off the field only ‘active’ until defending team clear ball or play stops

• As above for attacker returning; before that re-entry point is the offside position

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct

• Foul with contact is a direct FK

• Advantage for a RC – indirect FK if offender then gets involved in play

• Change of wording for handball so that not every handball is a YC

• Some DOGSO offences in the penalty area are punished with a YC

• Attempted violent conduct is a RC, even if no contact

• Striking on head/face when not challenging an opponent is a RC (unless negligible)

• Offence against substitutes, team officials, match officials etc. is now a direct FK

• Foul off the field penalized with a direct FK on boundary line (penalty in own penalty area)

Law 13 – Free Kicks

• Difference between ‘stopping’ a FK and ‘intercepting’ the ball after FK taken

Law 14 –The Penalty Kick

• Indirect FK + YC if wrong player deliberately takes the penalty

• Indirect FK if ball kicked backwards

• If ‘illegal’ feinting occurs it is always an indirect FK (and YC)

• Goalkeeper YC if infringes and PK is retaken.

Law 15 – The Throw-in

• New wording makes it clear that ball must be thrown with both hands

Law 16 – The Goal Kick

• If GK kicked into own goal it is a corner kick to opponents

• An opponent in the penalty area when the goal kick is taken can not play the ball first

Law 17 – The Corner Kick

• If CK kicked into own goal it is a corner kick to opponents


For more detail here is a link to the FIFA laws of the Game. Changes are explained in more detail starting on page 116.