Law Changes for 2017

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These law changes now apply.  This page gives a summary of the changes. For more detailed information see PDF at the bottom of this page

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Law 1 – The Field of Play

• Artificial and natural surfaces may not be combined on the field,  Competitions may determine field size for their competitions (within Law), all commercial advertising on the ground must be at least 1 m (1 yd) from boundary lines, Logos/emblems of FAs, competitions etc... allowed on corner flags

 

Law 3 – The Players (new title)

• A match may not start/continue if a team has fewer than 7 players

• Substitutes may take a restart but must first step onto the field (e.g. at a throw in)

• Clarifies situation when a player is sent off before/after kick-off – if sent off, he/she is not regarded as an outside agent

• Direct FK (or penalty) if a substitute/team official interferes with play (also applies to a player who has been sent off)

• A player who is sent off before submission of the team list cannot be named on the team list in any capacity

• A player who is sent off after being named on the team list and before kick-off may be replaced by a named substitute, who cannot be replaced;

• A player who is sent off after the kick-off cannot be replaced

• If something/someone (other than a player) touches a ball as it goes into the goal the referee can award the goal if the touch had no impact on the defenders

• If a goal is scored with an extra person on the field and referee has restarted play, the goal stands and match continues

 

Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment

• Any tape or other material on/covering socks must be same colour as the sock

• Player losing footwear/shin guard accidentally can play on until next stoppage

• Undershorts must be colour of shorts or hem; team must all wear same colour

• Electronic communication with substitutes is forbidden

• Player can return during play after changing/correcting equipment, once equipment has been checked (by referee, fourth official or AR) and referee signals

• Goalkeeper may wear a cap – always allowed, now written in law

 

Law 5 – The Referee

• Decisions will be made to the best of the referee’s ability according to the Laws of the Game and the ‘spirit of the game’ and will be based on the opinion of the referee who has the discretion to take appropriate action within the framework of the Laws of the Game

• Decision cannot be changed if play restarted or referee has left the field (Half time / full time)

• If several offences occur at the same time the most serious is punished

• Referee can send a player off from pre-match pitch inspection onwards

• Referee can only use RC + YC after entering the field at start of the match

• Player injured by RC/YC foul can be quickly assessed/ treated and stay on field

• Referees’ equipment (compulsory): Whistle(s), Watch(es), Red and yellow cards, Notebook (or other means of keeping a record of the match)

• Referees may also use equipment for communicating with other match officials – buzzer/beep flags, headsets etc, EPTS or other fitness monitoring equipment. Referees and other match officials are prohibited from wearing jewellery or any other electronic equipment

 • Diagrams of referee signals included from Guidelines section includes one handed “play on” signal

 

 

Law 6 – The Other Match Officials (new title)

• More details about the duties of the assistants, AARs, fourth official (no significant change to our practice)

• Diagrams of assistant referee signals included (from Guidelines section)

 

Law 7 – The Duration of the Match

• More reasons for additional time (e.g. medical drinks breaks)

 

Law 8 – The Start and Restart of Play

• All restarts included (previously only kick-off and dropped ball)

• Ball must clearly move to be in play for all kicked restarts

• Ball can be kicked in any direction at kick-off (previously had to go forward)

• If an infringement occurs when the ball is not in play this does not change how play is restarted

• Any number of players may contest a dropped ball (including the goalkeepers); the referee cannot decide who may contest the dropped ball or its outcome

• At a dropped ball, the ball must touch at least 2 players before a goal can be scored

 

 Law 09 – The Ball in and out of Play

• If a ball rebounds off a match official it is in play unless it has wholly passed over a boundary line

 

Law 10 – Determining the Outcome of a Match (new title)

Kicks from the penalty mark:

• Referee will toss a coin to choose the goal (unless weather, safety, etc.)

• Referee is NOT told the order in which players take kicks (team may change order of kickers)

• Player temporarily off the field (e.g. injured) at final whistle can take part

• Both teams must have same number of players before and during the kicks

• Clear statement of when a kick is over

• Kicks not delayed if player leaves the field; if not back in time kick is forfeited

 

Law 11 – Offside

• Halfway line ‘neutral’ for offside;  player must be in opponents’ half

• Players’ arms not considered when judging offside position (including goalkeeper)

• A player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by...

• Offside FK always taken where offence occurs (even in own half ) – i.e. where the ball is touched or player interferes etc

 • Offside player is penalised if he/she gains an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has rebounded or been deflected off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent or been deliberately saved by any opponent

• A defending player who leaves the field of play without the referee’s permission shall be considered to be on the goal line or touchline for the purposes of offside until the next stoppage in play or until the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area. If the player left the field of play deliberately, the player must be cautioned when the ball is next out of play

• An attacking player may step or stay off the field of play not to be involved in active play. If the player re-enters from the goal line and becomes involved in play before the next stoppage in play or the defending team has played the ball towards the halfway line and it is outside their penalty area, the player shall be considered to be positioned on the goal line point for the purposes of offside. A player who deliberately leaves the field of play and re-enters without the referee’s permission and is not penalised for offside and gains an advantage, must be cautioned

•   If an attacking player remains stationary between the goalposts and inside the goal as the ball enters the goal, a goal must be awarded unless the player commits an offside offence or Law 12 offence in which case play is restarted with an indirect or direct free kick

 

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct

•  ........tackles or challenges (direct FK)

•  Direct and indirect free kicks and penalty kicks can only be awarded for offences and infringements committed when the ball is in play

• Foul with contact is a direct FK

• Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent and must be cautioned.

• Using excessive force is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and endangers the safety of an opponent and must be sent off.

• impedes an opponent with contact now a direct free kick

• Advantage should not be applied in situations involving serious foul play, violent conduct or a second cautionable offence unless there is a clear opportunity to score a goal. The referee must send off the player when the ball is next out of play but if the player plays the ball or challenges/interferes with an opponent, the referee will stop play, send off the player and restart with an indirect freekick.

• There are different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour, including if a player commits a foul or handles the ball to interfere with or stop a promising attack, handles the ball in an attempt to score a goal (whether or not the attempt is successful) or in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent a goal

• Where a player denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by a deliberate handball offence the player is sent off wherever the offence occurs. Where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offending player is cautioned unless the offence is holding, pulling or pushing or the offending player does not attempt to play the ball or there is no possibility for the player making the challenge to play the ball or the offence is one which is punishable by a red card wherever it occurs on the field of play (e.g. serious foul play, violent conduct etc.) In all these circumstances the player is sent off.

•  In addition, a player who, when not challenging for the ball, deliberately strikes an opponent or any other person on the head or face with the hand or arm, is guilty of violent conduct unless the force used was negligible.

•Striking on head/face when not challenging an opponent is a RC (unless negligible)

• If the ball is in play and a player commits an offence inside the field of play against an opponent an indirect or direct free is awarded (or penalty kick)

• If the ball is in play and a player commits an offence inside the field of play against a team-mate, substitute, substituted player, team official or a match official – a direct free kick or penalty kick

• If the ball is in play and a player commits an offence inside the field of play against any other person – a dropped ball

•If the ball is in play and the offence occurred outside the field of play(...) However, if a player leaves the field of play as part of play and commits an offence against another player, play is restarted with a free kick taken on the boundary line nearest to where the offence occurred; for direct free kick offences a penalty kick is awarded if this is within the offender’s penalty area

 

Law 13 – Free Kicks

• Free kicks for offences involving a player entering, re-entering or leaving the field of play without permission are taken from the position of the ball when play was stopped. However, if a player leaves the field of play as part of play and commits an offence against another player, play is restarted with a free kick taken on the boundary line nearest to where the offence occurred; for direct free kick offences, a penalty kick is awarded, if this is within the offender’s penalty area.

• If a player takes a free kick quickly and an opponent who is less than 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball intercepts it, the referee allows play to continue. However, an opponent who deliberately prevents a free kick being taken quickly must be cautioned for delaying the restart of play

 

Law 14 –The Penalty Kick

• The ball must be stationary on the penalty mark

• The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves

• The penalty kick is completed when the ball stops moving, goes out of play or the referee stops play for any infringement of the LOTG

• Play will be stopped and restarted with an indirect free kick regardless of whether or not a goal is scored if a penalty kick is kicked backwards,

a team-mate of the identified kicker takes the kick (the referee cautions the player who took the kick), feinting to kick the ball once the kicker

has completed the run-up (feinting in the run-up is permitted) the referee cautions the kicker

• If the Goalkeeper infringes and the ball does not enter the goal the kick is retaken; the goalkeeper is cautioned if responsible for the infringement

• a player of both teams infringes the Laws of the Game the kick is retaken unless a player commits a more serious offence (e.g. illegal feinting)

 

Law 15 – The Throw-in

• At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower must.....throw the ball with both hands from behind and over the head from the point where it left the field of play

• An opponent who unfairly distracts or impedes the thrower (including moving closer than 2m (2 yds) to the place where the throw-in is to be taken) is cautioned for unsporting behaviour and if the throw-in has been taken an indirect free kick is awarded.

 

Law 16 – The Goal Kick

• If GK kicked into own goal it is a corner kick to opponents

• If an opponent who is in the penalty area when the goal kick is taken touches or challenges for the ball before it has touched another player, the goal kick is retaken

 

Law 17 – The Corner Kick

• If CK kicked into own goal it is a corner kick to opponents

• The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves (stops a player just touching the ball then unsportingly pretending that the corner has not been taken)

FFA have provided a detailed summary of the changes. Click on the PDF file to read or download

FFA 2017 Law Changes - Detailed