A few things have changed since Norwich City last played ...

PUBLISHED: 09:45 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:45 04 June 2020

Dennis Srbeny celebrates scoring at Everton, soon after coming on as a sub 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Dennis Srbeny celebrates scoring at Everton, soon after coming on as a sub Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

Norwich City are a little over a fortnight away from playing Premier League football again - and there have been a few changes to the game since they’ve been away, as Chris Lakey explains

Tim Krul saves Marcus Rashford's penalty at Carrow Road in October 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdTim Krul saves Marcus Rashford's penalty at Carrow Road in October Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It’s not just the background noise that will be different when Norwich City get their Premier League season back underway later this month.

A number of changes have been announced since football was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak – and apply to this season and next.

The people behind them are International Football Association Board (IFAB) – the body that determines the laws of the game.

VAR ... looks like it just won't go away Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdVAR ... looks like it just won't go away Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd


And then there were five.

IFAB have increased the number of subs to be used to five – part of the reason is to offset the probable lack of preparation time ahead of football’s return. It comes into effect immediately, in all competitions to be completed by December 31. It is a temporary change, but IFAB will discuss with Fifa to see if it needs to be extended into 2021.

However, while five subs are allowed, there are now three substitution opportunities when the changes can be made – as well as half-time - in a bid to prevent unnecessary stoppages.

Fifa said: “The temporary amendment comes into force with immediate effect, and has been made as matches may be played in a condensed period in different weather conditions, both of which could have impacts on player welfare.”

Premier League clubs will vote on this proposal, but it is being used in the Bundesliga and is expected to be used here.

This might not be the greatest of news for Todd Cantwell, who has been replaced 16 times this season - the joint third highest in the top flight. But it may be better news for Josip Drmic, whose 14 appearances off the bench are the joint sixth highest.

Only on three occasions this season has a substitute come on and scored – and only once did City get anything from the game. Drmic came on and scored in October when City lost 5-12 at home to Aston Villa and later that month Onel Hernandez came on against Manchester United and scored a consolation in 3-1 home loss.

In November, with City leading 1-0 at Everton, Dennis Srebny came on in the 89th minute and scored an insurance goal in City’s only away win in the Premier League so far this season.

Of course, it’s not all about goal-scoring subs - but it helps.


Everyone’s favourite piece of technology – but IFAB say competitions that were using the technology can stop doing so, when they resume their campaigns.

VAR came into our lives in the Premier League at the start of the season but has been under intense scrutiny because it has produced a whole host of controversial decisions.

Fifa said: “In relation to competitions in which the video assistant referee (VAR) system is implemented, these competitions are permitted to cease its use upon restart at the discretion of each individual competition organiser. However, where VAR is used, all aspects of the laws of the game and, by extension, the VAR protocol will remain in place.”

Don’t hold your breath though. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “VAR has its own social distancing issues but we think there is a way of completing the season with VAR so that’s absolutely our intention, to complete the season with VAR in place.”

There is an argument that scrapping the use of VAR would compromise the integrity of the competition – it’s already been used for most of the season and will be used next season. It’s here to stay...


For the start of 2020-21 season, these came into effect on Monday...

Handball - “Any ball striking an area of the arm below the armpit shall be considered a handball; if it strikes above that area it shall be considered a shoulder. The accidental hand of an attacker or a team-mate shall only be indicated if the contact takes place immediately before a goal is scored or an obvious chance is taken.” In plain English, if following the handball the goal is scored quickly.

Penalties - From the start of next season, if the goalkeeper moves off his line before a kick is taken he will only be punished if the penalty is saved. If it’s missed – off target – there will be no re-take.

If there is encroachment by either side, it doesn’t matter if the kick is converted or not, the penalty will be retaken. If the encroachment is made by an attacking player, and the player taking the penalty misses the target, then an indirect free-kick will be awarded to the defending team.

VAR (again) - From next season, the on-field referee will use the pitch-side video monitor whenever there is a subjective decision – currently, decisions are solely taken by the VAR at Stockley Park.

But fans won’t hear the conversations between match officials during a VAR review.

Under the radar - A player will not be sent off if in the penalty shootout they see a second yellow.

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