Law Changes for 2020

The following summarises the main Law changes for our 2020 season


Dropped ball

There are now NO contested drop balls

  • 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 Ball Touches Referee



Ball Touches Match Official

If the ball touches the referee (or another match official) and goes into the goal, team possession changes or a promising attack starts, a dropped ball is awarded


Free Kicks

  • When there is a ‘wall’ of three or more defenders, members of the attacking team are not permitted within 1m (1 yd) of the wall.

  • An attacker less than 1m (1yd) from the ‘wall’ when the kick is taken will be penalised with an indirect free kick Free Kick to defending team where the offence occurred

  • This rule also applies to corner kicks



Goal Kicks and Defensive Free Kicks

  • From a goal kick, the ball is in play when it has been kicked and moves (i.e. it does NOT have to leave the penalty area)

  • When the defending team takes a free kick in their own penalty area, the ball is in play once the kick is taken (i.e. been kicked and moves). It does NOT have to leave the penalty area before it can be played.

  • Attacking players must remain outside of the penalty area until the kick is taken (both goal kicks and free kicks)



Goal Celebrations

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





Deliberate handball remains an offence

The following ‘handball’ situations, even if accidental, will be penalised by a direct 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)




Goalkeeper receives ball kicked to him by a team mate (“pass back”)


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



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



Penalty Kick

· 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 (the nets, goalposts and crossbar 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; he cannot stand behind the line




Players' Equipment

Multi-coloured/patterned undershirts are allowed if they are the same as the sleeve of the main shirt Quick free kick and YC/RC



Quick Free Kick

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 may delay the YC/RC until the next stoppage if the offending team was not distracted by the referee




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

A team official guilty of misconduct will be shown a YC (caution) or RC (send off); if the offender cannot be identified, the senior coach who is in the technical area at the time will receive the YC/RC

FFA 2020 Law Changes - Detailed