Premier League Rule Changes: VAR, Handball, Substitutes & More
A series of new rules are set to be introduced when the 2019/20 Premier League season kicks off in August.
Here’s everything you’ll need to know ahead of the opening weekend, when Watford host Brighton at Vicarage Road (Saturday August 10).
When play is stopped, the ball will be dropped for a player on the team which last touched the ball – unless it’s stopped inside the penalty area, in which case it’ll be dropped for the goalkeeper. All other players on both teams must be at least 4.5 yards away.
Players on the attacking team are not allowed within one yard of a wall containing three or more defenders. Infringements will be punished with an indirect free kick.
Illegal celebrations, such as removing the shirt, will still be punished with a yellow card even if the goal is disallowed.
If a player handling the ball leads to a chance or a goal, they will be penalised even if accidental. A foul will also be given where a player’s arms have been raised above shoulder-height (unless it has touched their hand/arm after being deliberately played) or if they have made their body ‘unnaturally’ bigger.
The ball will be in play as soon as the kick is taken, meaning opposition players will not have to wait until it has left the penalty area before contesting it.
Where there has been a clear and obvious error, the video assistant referee will advise the match referee on situations involving goals, penalties, straight red cards (not second yellow cards) and cases of mistaken identity. Decisions can also be reviewed by the referee via a touchline TV.
The team winning the toss can now choose either to take the kick-off or which goal to attack, whereas previously they only had the choice of the latter.
In order to crack down on time-wasting, players being substituted must leave the pitch from the nearest point of the touchline or goal line, unless permitted to leave via the half-way line for safety or injury reasons.
Goalkeepers must have at least one foot on the goal line when a penalty is taken, or in line with it if jumping. They cannot stand behind (or in front of) the line.
Yellow and red cards can be shown to team officials guilty of misconduct. If the offender cannot be identified, the senior coach in the technical area at the time – usually the Head Coach/manager – will be penalised.