After another season of controversial refereeing decisions and in light of a football community that believes the quality of referees is in decline, changes to the laws of the game are ever more scrutinised.
The International Football Association Board, responsible for outlining and amending the laws of the game, have revealed the latest draft of changes to the games rules, which came into force in time for EURO 2016 on June 1st.
Below, we've picked out the most notable changes – all of which must be abided by come the start of your 2016/17 season.
Law 3 – The Players
“Direct free-kick (or penalty) if a substitute/team official/ sent off player interferes with play.”
“If something/someone (other than a player) touches the ball going into the goal, the referee can award the goal if the ball goes in the goal and the touch had no impact on the defenders (unless in opponents' goal).
Surprisingly, were a team official, substitute or other non-playing member to enter the field and interrupt a promising opposition move or fling themselves in-front of a goal-bound shot, the referee would only award an indirect free-kick (giving the offending team a clear advantage from essentially cheating).
Under the new rules, a referee will award a direct free-kick or penalty.
Building on that, referees will also be able to award a goal even if something or someone (be it a balloon or ball boy) touches that ball as it goes into the net. That is unless that touch seriously affects the movements and reaction of the defenders in question.
Law 5 – The Referee
“An important statement has been added that referees should officiate within the 'spirit of the game' and the 'spirit of the Laws' as too many referees (and instructors/observers) apply the Laws too strictly for minor matters which, especially at lower levels of football, does not benefit the game.”
“Referee can 'send-off' a player from pre-match pitch inspection onwards.”
“Player injured by RC/YC foul can be quickly assessed/treated and stay on the field.”
A bit of a hazy one this, but one that is particularly relevant to the grassroots game. In future, referees will be asked to officiate with more 'common sense'. Specifically, the introduction of such phrasing into the Laws of the game looks to tackle the over-enforcing of the minor details of the law.
The example used in the IFAB's release was a missing corner flag. A problem that would only occur at grassroots level, but one that some referees might call a game off for entirely – despite its obviously trivial affect on the conduct or safety of the match.
Click here to read the full article on Pitchero's Blog.
Updated 15:06 - 11 Jun 2016 by UGJFC Admin