The football law changes Norwich City fans need to be aware of for next season

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:06 24 May 2019

Attacking players are no longer allowed to disrupt defensive walls of three or more men, thanks to IFAB law changes 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Attacking players are no longer allowed to disrupt defensive walls of three or more men, thanks to IFAB law changes Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

As a raft of law changes are introduced to football, David Freezer ​takes a closer look at the tweaks which are being brought in by the International Football Association Board for next season.

Players will leave the pitch at the nearest possible point 
when they are substituted, from next season Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesPlayers will leave the pitch at the nearest possible point when they are substituted, from next season Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

The introduction of video assistant referees to the Premier League will not be the only change Norwich City have to contend with during the 2019-20 season.

Substitutions, goal-kicks and defensive walls will all look different, the traditional drop-ball is being abolished and the trial for yellow and red cards for coaches is being made permanent.

The decisions were made at the annual general meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Aberdeen in March, with plenty for supporters to absorb...

PENALTIES

Keepers must now have at least part of one foot on, or in line with, the goal-line when a penalty is taken - but they cannot stand behind the goal-line.

The frame of the goal and the nets must not be moving when a penalty is taken either, with keepers not allowed to be touching them when the kick is taken, so the days of seeing keepers bouncing up and down to shake the goal frame and unnerve the taker should be over.

SUBSTITUTIONS

In an attempt to prevent time wasting a player being substituted must now leave the field by the nearest point, unless the referee indicates specifically where they should leave the field, such as if there may be a safety or security issue.

The trial of yellow and red cards for coaching staff is being made permanent throughout football 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesThe trial of yellow and red cards for coaching staff is being made permanent throughout football Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Players can also be booked for infringing the 'spirit' of this law, if they do not immediately go to the technical area or dressing room and cause a delay to the restart of play.

GOAL-KICKS

The defensive team can now play the ball before it leaves the penalty area, after a goal-kick has been taken, or a free-kick from within their own penalty area.

This is due to some players deliberately playing the ball before it had left their team's penalty area, usually when being closed down by an opponent, as they knew another goal-kick or free-kick would be awarded.

Opposing players, as ever, must remain outside the penalty area until the ball has been played though.

HANDBALLS

IFAB have acknowledged the need for 'greater clarity' in the handball rules, stressing that fouls are given for deliberate handball and that it is not in the interests of the game for goals to be scored or chances to be created with the hand or arm, even if accidental.

This includes when making the body 'unnaturally bigger' and when above shoulder height, unless a player accidentally creates a handball, such as heading the ball onto their own arm or that of a nearby opponent. There is also added allowance for players using their arm to support their body when on the ground.

Phil Mulryne's winner for Norwich at Reading in 2004 came courtesy of the ball rebounding off the referee 
Picture: James Bass
/Archant libraryPhil Mulryne's winner for Norwich at Reading in 2004 came courtesy of the ball rebounding off the referee Picture: James Bass /Archant library

There is also a fresh tweak for keepers, who can now handle the ball in their area if they have unsuccessfully kicked or tried to kick the ball after a pass or throw-in.

FREE-KICKS

Attacking players will no longer be able to disrupt defensive 'walls' ahead of a free-kick. IFAB has decided that when there is a wall of three or more defenders then attackers must be at least one metre away, or be punished by an indirect free-kick.

The directive states: "There is no legitimate tactical justification for attackers to be in the wall and their presence is against the spirit of the game and often damages the image of the game."

CELEBRATIONS

IFAB have clarified that yellow cards must still be shown to a player who removes their shirt to celebrate a goal, even if the goal is subsequently disallowed.

This is said to be because "the impact (safety, image of the game etc) is the same as if the goal was awarded" and follows the introduction of VAR, which has led to more goals being ruled out.

DROP-BALLS

No longer will we see two players wildly swinging at a dropped ball to restart play, such as if the referee has inadvertently touched the ball and disrupted play, or for a player to have treatment when the referee has stopped play.

Instead these instances will see the ball returned to the team who had last played it, with all players of both teams having to be at least four metres away, preventing aggressive drop-ball confrontations or the ball being kicked for a throw-in deep in the opponents' half.

If play is stopped inside the penalty area then the ball is simply dropped for the keeper, while IFAB stresses that a drop-ball is awarded if a team gains an advantage from the ball touching a match official.

To put that into Canaries context, Phil Mulryne's winner at Reading during the promotion season of 2003-04, when a clearance deflected off referee Neale Barry and into the midfielder's path, would no longer stand.

MISCONDUCT

The trial of yellow and red cards for misconduct being shown to team officials, which was in operation in the Championship this season, has been introduced permanently.

This was seen at Carrow Road when Ipswich boss Paul Lambert was sent off after a pitchside altercation. If the offender cannot be identified then the senior coach in the technical area will receive the card.

- For further details on the laws issued by IFAB, go to theifab.com/laws

- Do you approve of the law changes? Email us on norfolksport@archant.co.uk

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