London, July 27: The new season of the English Premier League is all set to begin next month (August).
As the 2016/17 is all set to kick-start its campaign on August 13, The International Football Association Board (IFAB) announced more than 95 alterations to the laws of the game last season after 18 months of consultation, with many of the changes trialled at Euro 2016.
Here is the list of changes in rules which will be applied in the 2016/17 season:
1) Kick-off: As it was seen at the Euro 2016, the ball no longer has to go forward during kick-off. According to the previous law, the ball had to go into the opposition half at the restart, but it has been changed to allow it to move in any direction, as long as it "clearly moves".
2) Pre-match red cards: From this season onwards, the referees will be able to give a player a red card before the match starts. This allows the officials to punish red-card offences in the warm-up or as the two teams line up in the tunnel (remember the epic Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane fight). The new law states a player may be sent off any time between the pre-match inspection and when the referee leaves the field at the end of the game.
3) No more 'triple-punishment law': The 'triple-punishment' law means a player who denied a goal-scoring opportunity in the box was automatically red-carded and handed a suspension, as well as giving away a penalty.
But now the law has now been changed so players committing accidental fouls that deny goal-scoring opportunities in the penalty area will not be automatically sent off unneccesarrily.
As the amendment states: "When a denial of a goalscoring opportunity offence is committed by a defender in the penalty area, the penalty kick effectively restores the goalscoring opportunity so the punishment for the player should be less strong (e.g. a yellow card) than when the offence is committed outside the penalty area. However, when the offence is handball or clearly not a genuine attempt to play or challenge for the ball, the player will be sent off."
4) Treating injuries: In case a player is fouled and hurt by an opponent who subsequently receives a yellow or red card for the challenge, the injured player can be quickly treated on the pitch without the need to leave the field of play.
It was widely seen as unfair that a player injured by a serious foul was forced off the pitch for treatment, temporarily placing the fouled team at a numerical disadvantage.
5) Changing boots and other equipments: A player who leaves the field to change boots may have his new boots checked by an assistant referee or fourth official before returning to play.
Previously, the player required the referee's permission to return.
6) Penalties: Among all the changes done to the laws regarding penalties, potentially the most interesting is the amendment to yellow card a penalty taker who "illegally feints" once his run-up is complete. The law does stress feinting during a run-up is still permitted.
7) Colour of undergarments: The new rule states that the undershorts/tights of a particular player must be the same colour as the main colour of the shorts or the lowest part of the shorts. This takes into account shorts with a different coloured hem. Undershirts must still be the same colour as the main colour of the shirt sleeve as usual.
8) Offside: There has been a couple of minor clarifications to the offside rule have been made. The new law now states that the halfway line is neutral, meaning a player must have part of the body (excluding arms or hands) in the opponents' half to be flagged offside. A free-kick resulting from an offside will now always take place where the offence is committed.
9) Handballs: In order to stop referees from flashingg yellow cards for every handball, "preventing an opponent gaining possession" has been removed from the list of bookable offences. Handball is now a yellow card offence when "it stops/interferes with a promising attack".
10) Restarts: The phrase "clearly moves" has been added to the law on restarts, meaning attempts to trick the opposition by lightly tapping the ball at a corner (or free-kick) and then dribbling will come to an end. This change is part of a renewed endevour on what means sporting behaviour "within the spirit of the game".