Law Changes

Law Changes


IFAB Law Changes for 2019/2020
Summarized Version in Alphabetical Order


Dropped ball - Laws 8 & 9


  • If play is stopped inside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the goalkeeper

  • 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

  • In all cases, all the other players (of both teams) must be at least 4m (4.5yds) away


Free Kicks - Law 13


  • When there is a ‘wall’ of three or more defenders, the attackers are not allowed within 1m (1yd.) of the wall; an attacker less than 1m (1yd) from the ‘wall’ when the kick is taken will be penalized with an indirect free kick

  • When the defending team takes a free kick in their own penalty area, the ball is in play once the kick is taken; it does not have to leave the penalty area before it can be played


Goal Celebrations - Law 12


  • A YC for an ‘illegal’ celebration (e.g. removing the shirt) remains even if the goal is disallowed


Goal Kick - Law 16


  • The ball is in play once the kick is taken; it can be played before leaving the penalty area


Handball - Law 12


  • Deliberate handball remains an offence

  • The following ‘handball’ situations, even if accidental, will be 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 has 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 will not usually be a free kick, unless they are one of the above situations:

    • 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)

    • If the goalkeeper attempts to ‘clear’ (release into play) a throw-in or deliberate kick from a team-mate but the ‘clearance’ fails, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball


Kick-Off - Law 8


  • The team that wins the toss can now choose to take the kick-off or which goal to attack (previously they only had the choice of which goal to attack)


Medical Breaks - Law 7


  • Difference between ‘cooling’ breaks (90 secs – 3 mins) and ‘drinks’ breaks (max 1 min)


Penalty Kick - Law 14


  • The team’s penalty taker can have (quick) treatment/assessment and then take the kick

  • The goalkeeper must not be touching the goalposts/crossbar/nets; they must not be moving 

  • The goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot on/in line with the goal line when the kick is taken; cannot stand behind the line


Players' Equipment - Law 4


  • Multi-colored/patterned undershirts are allowed if they are the same as the sleeve of the main shirt


Quick free kick and YC/RC - Law 12


  • If the referee is about to issue a YC/RC but the non-offending team takes the free kick quickly and creates a goal-scoring opportunity, the referee can delay the YC/RC until the next stoppage if the offending team was not distracted by the referee


Substitutes - Law 3


  • A player who is being substituted must leave the field by the nearest point on the touchline/goal line (unless the referee indicates the player can leave quickly/immediately at the halfway line or a different point because of safety, injury etc.)


Team Officials - Laws 5 & 12


  • A team official guilty of misconduct will be shown a YC (caution) or RC (sending-off)*; if the offender cannot be identified, the senior coach who is in the technical area at the time will receive the YC/RC * Law 12 will have a list of YC/RC offences


Click Here for the full list of 2019/2020 Law Changes and Explanations.