This season, football rules will have some changes after the IFAB (International Football Association Board) approved a number of changes and clarifications to the current Laws of the Game.

The changes in football rules took effect on June 1, 2019, and the matches which starting before that date will have the option to delay their introduction until the next season.

With the set of changes to come into force across the game in the 2019-20 season, takes a look at some of the main rules to look at.

Free kicks: No attacking players in the wall

changes in football rules

From the next season on, the way free kicks are taken is going to have an interesting change.

The IFAB has approved a rule reform which prohibits attacking players – ie those from the team on attacking from the free kick – from being in the wall.

Specifically, attackers are not allowed within one meter of the wall of three or more players.

When a free kick is taken, any attacking player found to be less than one meter from the wall will be penalized and the other team will be rewarded with an indirect free kick.

The target behind the change is to avoid time-wasting and disturbances between players that may lead to physical altercations.

Goal kick

The changes in football rules to the goal kicks nature has altered the dynamic of restarting the game.

The ball was seen as ‘dead’ until it left the penalty area before, but a new change of rule means that as soon as the ball is touched and can be played inside the 18-yard box, it is in play.

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Early confusion around this rule led the IFAB to clarify that until the ball is played opposition players are still not allowed in the box.


changes in football rules

From 2019-20 on, the winning team in the coin toss will have a choice of picking which half to attack or to take the first kick-off.

The reason behind these changes in football rules is that many players will choose to take kick-off since a goal can be scored directly from one.

Yellow & red cards for coaches

changes in football rules

In order to control difficult behavior from coaches who don’t see eye to eye with the referee or their opposite number. The officials will be able to show them yellow or red cards, just like the players.

If, in the event of a touchline melee, for example, the senior coach who is in the technical area will be the default recipient, if the offending individual cannot be identified for punishment.

Handball: Accidental offenses deemed free kicks

The IFAB has tried to provide more clarity on the handball offense when the offense is deemed to be ‘non-deliberate’.

Basically, the changes in football rules will mean that in cases where the ball accidentally strikes a player’s hand before crossing over the line there will be no goal.

Similarly, they will be penalized with a free-kick, if a player has accidentally handled the ball and created an advantage or subsequently scores.

Although, these changes in football rule will still cause plenty of debate and consternation.

Penalty kicks: Goalkeepers must at least have one foot in or on line

changes in football rules

In recent years, the penalty kicks issue has cropped up a few times and it tends towards reducing the freedom of the goalkeeper.

With the latest update, that hasn’t made changes in football rules, which show that the shot-stopper must not be moving or touching the goalposts.

The new rule changes also show that the goalkeeper must have at least one-foot part on or in line with the goal-line.

As well as those points, the penalty taker will now have permission to receive a quick treatment if necessary before taking the kick.

Drop ball no longer competitive

There is no more dropped the ball. Well, as we know it, at least not.

The ball will simply be dropped for the goalkeeper if the play is stopped inside the penalty area.

The ball will be dropped for a player from the team that last touched the ball if it is stopped outside the penalty area. Players will have to be at least four meters (four and a half yards) away in all cases.

What is the IFAB?

changes in football rules

The IFAB stands for The International Football Association Board, is self-described as “guardian of the Laws of the Game.”

Has been established of the four British associations (the FA, SFA, FAW and IFA) and FIFA. This is the only organization that has the authority to review and make the changes in football rules governing the football game. Each of the four British associations has one vote and FIFA which representing the remaining 207 national associations has four votes.

Formed in 1886, it initially included only the four British associations. Until in 1913, FIFA requested to be included on the panel. The world governing body was established nine years after. Meetings are held annually, with each member association will host alternatively.