IFAB Introduce New Football Rules for 2019/20

  • June 02, 2019 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/5c40f

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has introduced a number of laws which will come into effect for the 2019/20 season.

Following two years of worldwide experiments, they decided to approve:

- The introduction of yellow and red cards for misconduct by team officials.
- A player being substituted leaving the field 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, the ball is in play as soon as the kick is taken (it can be played before it leaves the penalty area).

An 11-page document, provides more detailed wording of the amendments made to the 'Laws of the Game', with all changes to be applied from June 1, 2019.

Dropped Ball

Drop balls will no longer be contested.

If play is stopped outside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped to a player of the team which had the last touch - and where they touched it. If play is stopped inside the penalty area, the ball will be returned to the goalkeeper, even if the attacking team were in possession at the time.

All players must be at least 4.5 yards (4m) away when the ball is dropped by the match official.

In another change to existing rulings, should the ball touch the referee (or another official) and go into the goal, switch possession to the other team or begin a promising attack, a drop ball will be awarded.

Free Kicks

When the defending team has three or more players in a wall, attacking players will no longer be able to stand in or next to them - leaving a gap of at least 1 yard (1m).

The IFAB believe obstruction of the defensive wall causes management problems, wastes time and damages the image of the game.

Players who fail to observe this rule will see an indirect free kick awarded against them.

Goal Celebrations

For a number of years, players have been shown yellow cards for inappropriate goal celebrations (e.g. removing the shirt).

Under new rules, a caution will now be given even if the goal is disallowed by an official.

Goal Kicks

As the game continues to evolve, with goalkeepers playing goal kicks to defenders an increasing occurrence, the ball will now be deemed in play as soon as the kick is taken.

Previously, the ball must have left the penalty area before another player could become involved.

However, defending players may now receive possession within their own penalty area, although members of the attacking team must remain outside the penalty area until the ball is kicked and returned to play.


Deliberate handball remains an offence, but the following situations, even if accidental, will now result in a free kick.

- The ball goes into the goal after touching an attacking player's hand/arm.
- A player gains control/possession of the ball after it touches their hand/arm and then scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity.
- The ball touches a player's hand/arm which has made their body unnaturally bigger.
- 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 instances of handball will not be punishable, however:

- The ball touches a player's hand/arm directly from their own head/body/foot or the head/body/foot of another player who is close/near.
- The ball touches a player's hand/arm which is close to their body and has not made their body unnaturally bigger.
- If a player is falling and the ball touches their hand/arm when it is between their body and the ground to support the body (but not extended to make the body bigger).

Another change relates to goalkeepers, who have previously been unable to handle the ball when receiving possession from a defending throw-in or free kick.

Should their initial attempt at a kicked clearance fail, they will then be able to use their hands even without prior involvement of any other player.


Previously, the team that won the coin toss would only be able to choose which goal to attack in the opening period of a match.

This has now changed, however, giving them the option of kick-off.


Goalkeepers will no longer be able to use distraction techniques which involve them touching the goalposts/crossbar/nets. They must have at least part of their foot on or in line with the goal line when the kick is taken, and will no longer be able to stand behind the line.

Should a team's penalty taker require treatment for an injury, they will now be able to return to the field to take the kick themselves after a 'quick' assessment has been administered by medical personnel.

Quick Free Kicks

If the match official is preparing to issue a yellow or red card but the non-offending team takes a quick free kick which creates a goal-scoring opportunity, said official can delay issuance of the card until the next stoppage in play.


To stop a player who is being substituted from 'wasting' time by leaving slowly at the halfway line - which is now a Law requirement - the withdrawn individual(s) must leave the field at the nearest point on the touchline/goal line.

Match officials can override this introduction should it compromise safety or access to treatment in the case of injury.

Cards for Coaches

Team officials deemed guilty of misconduct will be shown a yellow or red card by the match referee.

If the offender(s) cannot be identified, the most senior coach/manager in the technical area will receive the card instead as the person responsible for other team officials.

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