Here are 8 new rules introduced in the EPL,they will apply as from 2019/2020 season:
RULE ONE – Substitutions
To prevent time-wasting, players will now have to leave the pitch at the nearest point.
Previously, players would have to walk to the half-way line and swap with the incoming player.
Now, rather than having to cross the pitch or make their way back to the dug-out, players will go off at the closest sideline.
Left-backs on the left side, for example.
RULE TWO – Defensive wall
If there are more than three players in a defensive wall (so pretty much every free-kick that will be a shot at goal) attackers are not allowed within one yard of the wall.
This rule change will put an end to the pushing, shoving, pulling and tugging that causes aggravation for pretty much every referee.
In every wall since time immemorial, fouls have been committed in the wall and have gone unpunished.
In practice, it will be interesting to see how referees will enforce attacking players staying one yard away from the defensive wall.
RULE THREE – Drop balls
Drop balls are now a thing of history, they are gone from next season.
This rule is certainly bound to cause a bit of controversy.
Instead of a drop ball, the last team to touch the ball will get possession.
Whether that team decides to give the ball back to the other side remains to be seen.
Another development is that if play is stopped with the ball in the penalty area, it will restart with the goalkeeper.
That’s certain to cause some upset for fans.
RULE FOUR – Penalties
This one sounds like it’s going to be very hard to enforce – although we can certainly see Mike Dean ordering a penalty to be retaken four times to get it right..
As part of a crackdown on gamesmanship, goalkeepers can’t touch the frame, have to have one boot touching the line and can’t stand behind the line.
Keepers are also not allowed to feign movement one way in an attempt to bluff the taker.
But how much movement will be allowed? Can a keeper lean one way and dive the other?
This will be a work in progress.
RULE FIVE – Goal-kicks
This is a massive change and one that should speed up the game massively.
Up to this point, a goal-kick was not in play until it left the area.
So the ball was dead until it left the 18-yard box – if a defender touched it, it was an indirect free-kick, if an attacker touched it the goalkeeper would get the decision.
But now, the ball is in play from the moment it is touched.
This is to counter the high press – defenders will be able to collect the ball inside the area, before the defending team has set and move the ball quickly into midfield.
RULE SIX – Accidental handball
Tottenham may not have made the Champions League final if this rule existed this season.
From next year any goal scored from the arm – accidental or deliberate – will not count.
If the ball touches an attacking player’s arm in the build-up to a goal – accidental or not – the goal will not count.
Although Fernando Llorente’s goal at the Etihad counted this season, because although the ball touched his arm it was not deliberate, now the fact it has touched his arm is enough to disallow it.
There’s a big but here – this rule does not apply to defenders in their own box.
So a referee, or VAR, will still judge whether a handball was deliberate or not.
RULE SEVEN – Celebrations
This rule is a direct result of VAR.
A player is currently booked for any over-exuberant celebrations, jumping into the crowd or taking a shirt off and so on.
Now imagine a player scores, celebrates in that fashion and VAR chalks the goal off.
The celebrating player will still be booked even if the goal has been disallowed.
RULE EIGHT – Ball hitting the referee
On many occasions, this rule will not be used when a ball accidentally hits a referee.
But if a team gains a significant advantage from it, then it will be brought back and a drop ball will be given.