New handball and subs rules head raft of law changes set for next season

May 21 – Significant new tweaks approved earlier this year by football’s lawmakers are will come into effect across the game from the start of next season, designed to reduce a number of grey areas.

Top of the list is an amendment to the handball rule whereby from next season goals scored or created with the aid of a hand or arm – even if accidental, and this is the key – will be disallowed.

The idea is to attempt to end confusion over “deliberate” contact with the ball.

“A goal scored directly from the hand/arm (even if accidental) and a player scoring or creating a goal-scoring opportunity after having gained possession/control of the ball from their hand/arm (even if accidental) will no longer be allowed,” according to the new law.

In other changes approved by the International FA Board, whenever a player is substituted, they no longer have to leave the field near to the dugouts. Substitutes will have to leave the pitch at the nearest goal line or touchline instead of walking to their technical area in a bid to stop time-wasting.

With regard to freekicks, attacking players will no longer be allowed in the wall. “Their presence is against the ‘spirit of the game’ and often damages the image of the game,” IFAB explained.

A change to the penalty rule is also being enforced to make sure goalkeepers comply. From next season keepers must have one foot on the line while there will also be yellow and red cards for coaches.

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