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IN DETAIL: Changes & Clarifications to Laws of the Game

The 133rd AGM of The International FA Board (The IFAB) in Aberdeen, Scotland on 2 March 2019 approved a number of amendments to, and clarifications of, the Laws of the Game for 2019/20.

Three changes were approved following 2 years of worldwide experiments:
• The introduction of yellow and red cards for misconduct by team officials
• A player being substituted leaving the field at the nearest point on the boundary line
• At a goal kick and a free kick for the defending team in their own penalty area, the ball isin play as soon the kick is taken (it can be played before it leaves the penalty area)

Other changes include: clearer wording for ‘handball’, attacking team 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, and a new dropped ball procedure (including a dropped ball being awarded if the ball hits a match official and goes into the goal, team possession changes or a promising attack starts).

This document summarises the main changes and clarifications and also gives the precise wording for each of the Law changes but does not include some editorial changes (e.g. new order of bullet points etc.) which will be highlighted in the Laws of the Game 2019/20 book. This document is also available on The IFAB’s website (www.theifab.com) along with a shorter ‘Law Changes 2019-20 – At a Glance’ document which summarises only the major changes. Downloadable versions of the Laws of the Game 2019/20 in English, French, German and Spanish will be available in mid/late May on The IFAB’s website, along with details of the new IFAB Laws of the Game app.

All changes come into force on 1st June 2019. Competitions starting before that date may apply the changes from the start of their competition, at an agreed point during the competition (e.g. after the mid-season break) or may delay them until no later than the start of the next competition.

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