Your guide to football’s new laws

Mark Clattenburg sends off Cheikhou Kouyate (left)

Mark Clattenburg (right) will be England’s refereeing representative at Euro 2016

International friendly – England v Turkey

Venue:Etihad Stadium, ManchesterDate:Sunday, 22 MayKick-off:17:15 BSTHow to follow:Listen on BBC Radio 5 live; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

England’s friendly matches before this summer’s European Championship will be played with new laws in mind.

The 95 changes come into effect on 1 June, and the Football Association wants players to get used to them before the tournament in France.

It has agreed with the Turkish and Australian FAs to adopt the laws when England play them this month.

Changes include the end of an automatic red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity.

Football’s rulemakers, the International Football Association Board (Ifab), drew up the list of changes earlier this year after 18 months of consultation.

Former referee and Ifab technical director David Elleray said the revision would make things clearer for players, officials and fans.

“We should have a much more consistent interpretation across the world because we’ve made it much clearer what should happen in certain situations.

“That should reduce controversy and confusion.”

Many of the alterations are designed to make the language used much clearer – for example, a clumsy explanation of the number of players needed for a match to take place has been replaced by a simple sentence: “A match may not start or continue if either team has fewer than seven players.”

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Changes in language aside, here are the other things that will be different about football from 1 June:

Law 1 – the field of play

Logos permitted on corner flags (previously banned).

Mix of artificial and natural surfaces allowed on field of play (previously banned).

Law 3 – the players

If a substitute, sent-off player or match official interferes with play, causing the game to be stopped, it will result in a direct free-kick or penalty (previously indirect free-kick or drop-ball).

If a substitute, team official or outside agent stops a ball going into the goal, the referee can apply the advantage rule and award a goal.

Law 4 – the players’ equipment

Players wearing undershorts or tights have to make sure they are the same colour as those worn by any team-mates – and they must also match their shorts.

A player leaving the field of play to change their boots can only be allowed back on by the referee.

Law 5 – the referee

Referees have the authority to take action from when they enter the field of play for the pre-match inspection, not from the start of the game – which means players could be sent off for an offence committed while warming up. But yellow cards can only be issued from the start of the match.

Players injured by opponents who are then sent off do not need to leave the pitch for treatment.

Law 7 – duration of the match

Time taken for drinks breaks can now officially be added on at the end of a game.

Law 8 – the start and restart of play

The ball no longer has to move forward at a kick-off – it just has to move for the game to start.

Referees should not ‘manufacture’ dropped ball situations, in terms of who takes them, or the outcome.

Law 10 – Determining the outcome of a match

Deciding which end a penalty shootout should take place is to be done by a coin-toss, subject to condition of the pitch, or safety concerns. It is no longer the referee’s choice.

A team with more players than the other when the shootout starts must reduce the number of takers so they have the same number of eligible players – this will stop teams who have had a player sent off having their better penalty takers available sooner.

Law 11 – offside

Hands and arms are not included when judging offside.

Free-kicks for offside can be taken from where the offside player received the ball.

Law 12 – fouls and misconduct


Indirect free-kicks used to be awarded when restarting games following offences against match officials. But lawmakers thought this sent out the wrong message, so they have upped it to a direct free-kick

A free-kick or penalty can only be awarded while the ball is in play.

Denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity in the penalty area is no longer a straight red card – unless the offence is holding, pulling or pushing; there’s no attempt to play or no possibility of making a challenge; or it’s an offence which is punishable by a red card, no matter where on the pitch it happens – violent conduct, for example.

Violent conduct is punishable by a red card even if no contact is made.

An offence against a match official will result in a direct free-kick or penalty.

Law 13 – free-kicks

When fouls are committed off the pitch when the ball is in play, the match is restarted with a free-kick on the touchline nearest where the incident occurred. A direct free-kick will be awarded for direct free-kick offences – and a penalty could be awarded if it happens parallel to the penalty area.

Law 14 – the penalty kick

Players who feint to kick the ball once they have taken a run-up when taking a penalty will get booked for unsporting behaviour. Feinting in the run-up is allowed. And goalkeepers who come off their line too early will also be booked.

Law 15 – the throw-in

Opposing players who try to impede a throw-in will be cautioned if they are standing under two metres away.

Law 17 – the corner kick

The wording has been changed in the laws to say: “The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves.” This is to stop players “unsportingly” touching the ball and pretending the corner has not been taken, to gain an advantage.

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