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Premier league rule changes for the 2021/22 season including VAR

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) are responsible for the laws within the Premier League and often make changes at the start of a new season.

These changes can make a significant impact in the game where often small margins are the difference between a goal, an offside, a penalty and often a win or loss.

Dani Ceballos goal was denied by VAR after Bukayo Saka was just ruled to be offside

With the new Premier League season kicking off on Friday, August 13 with Brentford v Arsenal, we are set to see the new changes in action.

VAR was a hot topic throughout the last campaign and it is set to be, hopefully, improved upon.

And so, ahead of another hectic season, here’s what to look out for…

Offside Changes

VAR’s use in offsides caused plenty of drama last season and was the centre of must debate and scrutiny.

A clarification concerning the offside rule has been given by IFAB where they note that the shoulder is not part of the arm for handball and when deciding an offside call ‘the upper boundary of the arm is in line with the bottom of the armpit’.

With the fine lines on offsides playing an important role in many games last season, this clarification of the rule could determine many marginal offsides this term.

VAR are also set to use ‘thicker lines’ in games this season in the hope it will rule out instances where a player’s toe has led to a goal being ruled out.

Handball Changes

Law 12 under ‘Fouls and Misconduct’ was adjusted for the 2021/22 season as IFAB blame inconsistencies with handball incidents.

AFP

Josh Maja’s goal vs Tottenham was disallowed for a handball in the lead up

Numerous goals during the 2020/21 season were disallowed due to handballs by players in the lead-up play, even accidental.

IFAB confirmed that: “Accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence.”

However, it is a handball if a player scores in the opponents’ goal: directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, or immediately after the ball has touched their arm, even if accidental.

It is also a handball offence if a player touches the ball, for instance moving their hand toward the ball. Similarly, they clarified that if a hand/arm makes the player’s body ‘unnaturally bigger’.

Referees have been told to continue using their judgement to determine the position of the arm in relation to the movement after last season’s law came under scrutiny.

“This handball rule is a terrible law!”

“It’s a morally corrupt law! It should never have come in!” ❌

“It’s not wanted by fans, players, coaches, referees… they HAVE to change it

Heading Changes

Football’s leading bodies have agreed new guidance which limits the number of headers players are permitted to make.

The guidance restricts players to ten ‘higher-force’ headers a week in training.

‘Higher force’ headers are those that follow a long pass (more than 35m) or from crosses, corners or free-kicks.

The guidance will apply to all clubs from the Premier League, EFL to all grassroots football which encompasses all men’s and women’s league tiers.

“Our heading guidance now reaches across all players, at all levels of the game,” said FA chief executive Mark Bullingham.

Evading the law

IFAB have said that players will be booked and an indirect free-kick awarded if a player does a trick in order to pass the ball to the keeper (by head, chest, knee etc) to evade the law of a pass-back.

It will be an offence if the goalkeeper touches the ball with the hands or not. This will also be enforced if the goalkeeper initiates the trick.

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