Laws of the Game Main Changes for 2019/2020 Season


If a player deliberately touches the ball they are penalised, but a foul will also be given if they create a chance or score a goal from an accidental handball. Any incident where a player’s arms have been raised above the shoulder-height is also likely to be given, or if they have made their body unnaturally bigger.

However, if the ball hits a players hand or arm from close-range, their arm is close to their body or used to support their body while falling will usually not be punished.


Players must leave the pitch by the nearest point on the touchline unless the referee allows them to leave on the half-way line for safety or injury reasons.

Goal Kicks

The ball is in play from the moment it is kicked or moves. Opposition players still in the area because they have not had time to leave are permitted, and can intercept the goal kick.

Yellow and Red Cards

If the attacking team wishes and the referee has not started to issue the card, they can take a quick free-kick at this point so long as it creates a goalscoring opportunity. The referee will then issue the card when the ball next goes out of play.

However, if the referee was about to send off the player who has given the foul for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, they will only receive a yellow card if the attacking team takes the quick free-kick.

Dropped Balls

If a dropped ball is given inside either penalty area, it is dropped for the defending team’s goalkeeper when play restarts.

For dropped balls outside the penalty area, the ball is dropped for a player on whichever team last touched the ball. All other players must remain at least 4.5 yards away from the ball until play restarts.

Other changes:

  • The introduction of yellow and red cards for misconduct by team officials.
  • At a free kick for the defending team in their own penalty area, the ball is in play as soon the kick is taken.
  • The attacking teams players must be at least 1m away from a defensive ‘wall’.
  • The goalkeeper only has to have one foot on the goal line at a penalty kick.

More Information here: IFAB Laws of the Game at a Glance.

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