Handballs, Drop Balls, and Men In Walls

From the 2019-2020 season we’re going to see some interesting changes to the football rules. As is the norm, some are straightforward, some we think may work while others seem a little bonkers.

Anyway to help you we have produced a little guide

The the rule change, what the rule means,  an explanation, and what we think is the reason for the change.

We hope it helps


Free kicks: No attacking players in wall

When there is a wall of three or more players attackers are not allowed within one metre of it.
Any attacking player found to be less than one metre from the wall when a free kick is taken will be penalised and the other team will be rewarded with an indirect free kick.

The idea behind the change is to avoid time-wasting and disturbances between players

Substitutions: Players must leave pitch at nearest point

Players who are being taken off and replaced must now leave the pitch by the nearest point on the touchline.

Players will have to think twice about how they exit the pitch and, not only that, they must make their way straight to the technical area or dressing room otherwise they risk being sanctioned for unsporting behaviour.

We will no longer be forced to endure the slow walks to the half-way line.

Yellow & red cards for coaches

Officials will be able to show managers or coaches yellow or red cards, in the same way they do with players.

In order to clamp down on difficult behaviour from coaches who don’t see eye to eye with the referee or their opposite number or in the event of a touchline melee for example.

And if an individual cannot be identified for punishment, then the senior coach who is in the technical area will be the default recipient.

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

In a penalty kick, the goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot on or in line with the goal-line.

Allowing the goalkeeper to have only one foot touching the goal line (or, if jumping, in line with the goal line) when the penalty kick is taken makes it easier to identify than if both feet are on the line.

Also if the kicker stutter’s in the run up, then the goalkeeper can take one step in anticipation of the kick as long as the other foot is on the line.

Goal kicks

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

The ball no longer has to leave the area on a goal kick

This will stop the pointless exercise of if the player standing on the edge of the area does not think the ball is going to leave the area, he can step into the area, play the ball and the referee makes the keeper take it again.

Handball: Accidental offences deemed free kicks

If the ball accidentally trikes a player’s hand before crossing over the line. The goal will be disallowed.

Also if a player has accidentally handled the ball and created an advantage or subsequently scores, they will be penalised with a free kick. 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).


These changes we expect will still cause plenty of debate and even more confusion

Drop ball no longer competitive

No such thing as a dropped ball and if play is stopped inside the penalty area the ball will simply be dropped for the goalkeeper.

If it is stopped outside the penalty area the ball will be dropped for a player from the team that last touched the ball. In all cases, players will have to be at least four metres (four and a half yards) away.

Stop unfair restart’s. For example kicking the ball out for a throw-in deep in the opponents half or an excuse for two players to kick lumps out of each other.

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