Changes & Clarifications to Laws of the Game for 2019/20

VERY IMPORTANT - please review

2019/20 Laws of the Game – Changes and clarifications
Changes
• Yellow and red cards for misconduct by team officials
• A player being substituted leaving the field of play at the nearest point on the boundary line
• At a goal kick and a free kick for the defending team in their own penalty area
Team Officials
If any coach, assistant coach, athletic trainer or representative of the team on the sidelines is
found to be guilty of misconduct but the referee cannot distinguish who committed the infraction,
the highest-ranking team official will receive the Yellow/Red Card.
Substitutes
Anyone who is being substituted needs to leave at the closest point of the touchline/goal line. If the
halfway point is the closest point, please go off there. If you are injured or the safest point to exit
the field is not the nearest, then the referee will indicate so and you can leave at the halfway point.
This change is trying to eliminate the practice of wasting time by substituting a player who is on
the opposite side of the field.
Goal kick
In the past, the team taking the goal kick could not touch the ball until it had left the penalty area.
Now, a player from the team in possession may reside in or enter the penalty area and touch the
ball as soon as it is in play. For the ball to considered be in play it must have been kicked and clearly
moved. This change is meant to speed up the play of the game.
Does this change affect the buildout line?
No, the spirit of the build-out line is still in effect in that players on the team not in
possession must move behind the buildout line until the ball is considered in play. The ball
is considered in play when it has been kicked and has clearly moved. Players for the team in
possession of the goal kick may choose to position themselves inside the penalty area. If a
team chooses to take a goal kick or free kick quickly, they are doing so at their own risk as
the normal build out line rules still apply.

Clarifications
Dropped ball
If the ball touches the referee or another match official and goes into the goal, team possession
changes or an attack for the opponents begins, a dropped ball is awarded.
If play is stopped inside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the goalkeeper (no
other player participates).
If play is stopped outside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for one player of the
team that last touched the ball at the point of the last touch of the ball
In all cases, all the other players of both teams must be 4.5 yards away from the dropped ball.
Free Kicks
When there is a ‘wall’ of three or more defenders, attackers are not allowed within 1 yard of the wall.
If an attacker is inside that 1-yard area when the kick is taken, the defending team is given an
Indirect Free Kick from the spot of the infraction.
Indirect Free Kicks
Once the kick has been taken and it is clear that a goal will not be scored from the kick, there is no
more need for a signal.
Quick Free Kicks and Red/Yellow Cards
If a free kick is taken quickly, before an official has the chance to issue a Yellow or Red Card, and a
goal-scoring opportunity is created, the referee can award the Yellow Card/Red Card at the next
convenient point.
Kicking Objects
If you kick an object at the ball, an opponent or a match official the other team will receive a Direct
Free Kick from the spot of the infraction.
Goal Celebrations
If a goal is disallowed, any Yellow Card given for an ‘illegal’ goal celebration still stands.
Handball
The following ‘handball’ situations, even accidental, will be a free kick
o The ball goes hits a player’s hand or arm and goes into the goal off an attacker.
o A player gains control/possession after the ball has touched their hand/arm and
scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity
o The ball touches a player’s hand/arm where the player has tried to block the ball by
extending their arms away from their body.
o The ball touches a player’s hand/arm when it is above their shoulder (unless the
player has deliberately played the ball which then touches their hand/arm)
The following ‘handball’ situations will not usually be a free kick:
o The ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from:
§ Their own head/body/foot, if the player has not made themselves
unnaturally bigger
§ The head/body/foot of another player who is close/near, if the player has not
made themselves unnaturally bigger
o The ball touches a player’s hand/arm which is close to their body and has not made
their body unnaturally bigger
o If a player is falling and the ball touches their hand/arm which is between their body
and the ground to support the body (not extended to make the body bigger)
The goalkeeper cannot score by throwing the ball into the opponent’s goal.
If a goalkeeper attempts to play the ball by legal means on a throw-in or a deliberate pass from a
teammate (heading, kicking) but the attempt is misplayed, the goalkeeper can play the ball with
his/her hands.
Penalty Kick
If an attacking team’s player is injured on the play they may have a quick treatment/assessment
and then take the kick
The goalkeeper cannot be touching the goalposts, crossbar or nets and cannot move until the ball
is in play.
The goalkeeper only needs to have one part of one foot on the goal line when the kick is taken.
If an offense occurs between when the penalty is declared and before the kick is taken, the
offender may receive a Yellow Card/Red Card but the penalty kick will still be taken.
Player’s Equipment
Players may wear multi-colored or patterned undershirts, if the undershirts are the same pattern
or color as the main shirt.
Verbal Offenses
All verbal offenses will be penalized with at least an Indirect Free Kick.