This is the English version of Die Laws of the Game 2019/2020 und die historische Entwicklung.

The IFAB announced the law amendments of the Laws of the Game for the season 2019/20. They will became valid on June 1st, 2019, but the final of the Men’s Champions League on this day will still be played according to the LotG of the 2018/19 season, as the game still counts for this season. But the Women’s World Championship, starting on 7th June 2019, will then be played according to the new laws.
As expected, all law amendments were adopted. In the run-up most of them became already public, so that I could already deal with them (see article Possible IFAB law amendments 2019 from a historical perspective).
On 14th March 2019, the IFAB published all amendments as a summary and in detail.

Ensuing, I present the law amendments and, if possible, add the historical development. Not included are law amendments, which serve the uniformity to law 12 (by the changed regulations to the handball). However, these can be also seen in the detailed version of the IFAB.

 

Law 3: The Players

A player who is substituted “must leave by the nearest point on the boundary line unless the referee indicates that the player may leave directly and immediately at the halfway line or another point (e.g. for safety/security or injury)” and the player “must go immediately to the technical area or dressing room”.

  • Reason: The possibilities for time play during a change are reduced. Going directly to the technical zone or dressing room should avoid problems with substitute players, spectators or assistant referees.
  • Historical development: In 1972 it was additionally determined that substitute players must leave or enter the field at the middle line. For a concise development with all regulations for the substitution of players, see the second part of the development of law 3.
Law 4: The player’s equipment

“Undershirts must be a single color which is the same as the main colour of the shirt sleeve or a pattern/colors which exactly replicate(s) the shirt sleeve.”

  • Reason: “Manufacturers now make patterned undershirts whose sleeves are the same as the main sleeve.”
  • Historical development: Since 1987, care must be taken to ensure that thermal shorts have the same colour as the jersey.
Law 5: Referee

The referee may not revise the restart, but in certain circumstances may show cards for an earlier incident.

  • Reason: If an assistant referee indicates that a yellow or red card is to be used for an infringement, but the referee sees or hears about it only after the restart, the cards may still be dealt after the restart.
  • Historical development: The factual decision has been part of the laws since the referee was introduced on the field (1889).

“The referee may not change a restart decision on realizing it is incorrect or […] abandoned the match.”

  • Reason: „terminated“ is replaced by „abandoned“ for the sake of clarity.
  • Historical development: none.

“If at the end of the half, the referee leaves the field of play to go to the referee review area (RRA) or to instruct the players to return to the field of play, this does not prevent a decision being changed for an incident which occurred before the end of the half. Except as outlined in Law 12.3 and the VAR protocol, a disciplinary sanction may only be issued after play has restarted if another match official had identified and attempted to communicate the offence to the referee before play restarted; the restart associated with the sanction does not apply.”

  • Reason: A decision at the end of the first half may be changed if, at the end of the first half, the referee tells the players to return to the field for a VAR review.
  • Historical development: none.

If “a penalty kick has awarded and the injured player will be the kicker”, he/she may be treated or assessed with on the field.

  • Reason: “It is unfair if the kicker needs assessment/treatment and then has to leave the field and cannot take the penalty kick.”
  • Historical development: Since the 2018/19 season, treated or assessed players no longer have to leave the field if their opponents have been cautioned for the foul or sent off.
Law 7: The duration of the match

Clarification of the difference between cooling breaks (90 seconds to three minutes) and drinks breaks (max. one minute).

  • Reason: “In the interest of player safety, competition rules may allow, in certain weather conditions (e.g. high humidity and temperature), ‘cooling’ breaks […] to allow the body’s temperature to fall” and drinks breaks for rehydrationing.
  • Historical development: For a few years now there has been the possibility of ordering a break for refreshment.
Law 8: The Start and Restart of Play

The team that wins the coin toss can decide whether to take the kick-off or choose the side. Depending on that, the other team will have the kick-off or the choose of the side.

  • Reason: “Recent Law changes have made the kick-off more dynamic (e.g. a goal can be scored directly from the kick-off) so captains winning the toss often ask to take the kick-off.”
  • Historical development: Between 1862 and 1878 (Sheffield FC and Sheffield FA) and 1863 and 1873 (FA), respectively, the winner of the coin toss could choose the side as before. From 1873 to 1997, the winner could choose whether to kick-off or choose the side, from after 1997) until today, the only choice was the side. This is now changed back again.

The ball is dropped for a player whose team was last in possession of the ball. If the ball was in the penalty area or the last touch in the penalty area, this player is the goalkeeper. In every case,all other players must remain 4.5 yd / 4 m away.

  • Reason: To prevent a team from exploiting an unfair advantage of a dropped ball, the ball will be dropped to the ball possessing team and all other players must keep their distance.
  • Historical development: The dropped ball was introduced by the IFAB in 1888: The referee lets the ball fall out of his hands, neither throws it up nor down. (I mention this because various German football rules published before the founding of the Deutscher Fussball Bund note that the ball is thrown up at a dropped ball. It is’nt called dropped ball in Germany, but referee ball, literally.) It is executed at the point where the ball was when the game was interrupted. In 1901 it was added that there is a free kick if the ball is in play (touching the ground) or a replay if it is not in play (i.e. was still falling). The replay of a dropped ball was also prescribed in 1902 for the ball went into the field without being touched by a player. The next and most recent change to the dropped ball was in 1985: If the ball was last in one of the goal areas, the ball is dropped on the goal area line parallel to the goal line – at the point closest to where the ball was when play was stopped.
Law 9: The ball in and out of play

The ball is considered out of play if the ball “touches a match official and a team starts a promising attack or the ball goes directly into the goal or the team in possession of the ball changes. In all these cases, play is restarted with a dropped ball.”

  • Reason: It can be very unfair if a team receives an advantage or a goal is scored because the ball has touched a match official or a match official.
  • Historical development: The rules do not stipulate that the referee is air, i.e. his or her touch with the ball is not counted. The latter, however, is made clear by paraphrases. It is therefore not possible for me to present a historical development here.
Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct

A handball is always against the laws, even in the case of rebounding balls from a short distance, if:

  1. the arm or hand deliberately moves to the ball to touch it,
  2. the handball creates a promising goal chance or is controlled in such a way that a goal is scored directly by handball
  3. a goal is scored directly from a handball.
  • Reasons: 1) A goal can never be scored by handball (not even unintentionally). 2) A goal may never be deliberately prepared with a handball.

A handball is usually against the laws, even if the ball rebounds from a short distance, if:

  1. “the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger”
  2. “the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level”
  • Reason: Having the arm and the hand above the shoulder is hardly a natural posture.

A handball is usually not against the laws if:

  1. The ball comes from the player’s own body, head or foot,
  2. the ball comes from the head, body of foot of another close player,
  3. the hand and arm are close to the body and do not make the body unnaturally bigger,
  4. “when a player falls and the hand/arm is between the body and the ground to support the body, but not extended laterally or vertically away from the body”.
  • Reasons: 1) “It is natural for a player to put their arm between their body and the ground for support when falling”. 2) When the ball bounces off one’s own body or head or from a nearby player, “it is often impossible to avoid contact with the ball”.

Historical development of handball: The handball was not always forbidden in football. This applies in particular to the laws and regulations from the 1st half of the 19th century, which are reminiscent of the rugby game. But also the early association football codes, which did not allow handball, as well as the FA Rules themselves, there were two types of handball that were or are still allowed: the fair catch (still exists today in rugby and American football) and the goalkeeper handball (still allowed). A fair catch is catching a ball before it touches the ground. It was banned in rules of the FA and the Sheffield FA in 1871. In rugby and American football, if the ball is catch directly, one has the choice between a fair catch (lifting the arm (previously scratching a mark on the ground with the heel), then a free kick from this point) or running with the ball in the arm. Till 1871, the fair catch was the only possibility to get a free kick. It was not until 1874, three years after the prohibition of the Fair Catch, that the free kick was introduced as a punishment for the disobeying team. The handball of field players was, as already said, always forbidden. Since 1902, however, according to the text of the laws, a decision is made between intentional and unintentional handball and only intentional handball is punishable. This was the last change concerning the handball – till now. Only in 2015, the Football Association of Wales propose to ban handball in principle and no longer distinguish between intentional and unintentional handball – it was not adopted.

An illegal handball (= after a throw-in or deliberate return pass) by the goalkeeper in his or her own penalty area is not sanctioned with a yellow or red card. The game continues with an indirect free kick.

  • Reason: It “does not incur any disciplinary sanction even if it stops a promising attack or denies a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity”.
  • Historical development: Although the goalkeeper handball was first mentioned in the FA Rules in 1871, it was probably already allowed before. In the following decades the law was defined more and more precisely: The goalkeeper may not carry the ball (1873), then carry it for two steps (1920), then for four steps (1967), since 2000 for six seconds. In 1882, the goalkeeper’s handball was restricted to his own half, then to his own goal area (1903) and finally to his own penalty area (1912).

If the goalkeeper tries to play the ball after a throw-in or an intentional pass by a fellow player or a team-mate, the goalkeeper is allowed to touch the ball.

  • Reason: “When the GK clearly kicks or tries to kick the ball into play, this shows no intention to handle the ball so, is the ‘clearance’ attempt os unsuccessful, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball without committing an offence.”
  • Historical development: In 1992, it was forbidden for goalkeepers to pick up an intentional passport from their teammates with their hands so the game become faster.

The referee can delay the showing of a yellow or red card until the next interruption if the game is continued quickly with a free kick and a goal opportunity is created. However, the free kick may not be restarted quickly if the referee is about to show a card.

  • Reason: It is unfair for the referee to prevent a quick restart of play because he or she still has one card to show.
  • Historical development: none.

The yellow card for inappropriate goal celebration remains even if the goal is disallowed. The game is restarted by an indirect free kick.

  • Reason: “Cautions for inappropriate goal celebrations apply even if the goal is disallowed as the impact (safety, image of the game etc.) is the same as if the goal was awarded”.
  • Historical development: The caution (taking off the jersey) or dismissal for inappropriate goal celebration was introduced in 2004.

Introduction of yellow and red cards for misconduct by team officials. If the person cannot be identified, the senior coach is warned or expelled from the field.

  • Reason: Successful experiment in past years.
  • Historical development: So far, team officials have been verbally cautioned, cautioned or sent off (by a referee or captain of the team). For the introduction and development of the yellow, yellow-red and red cards see Law 12, starting in 1970).

Overview of which offences should be sanctioned by team officials and how:

  • Warning (repetition leads to caution or sending-off)
    • “entering the field of play in a respectful/non-confrontational manner”,
    • “failing to cooperate with a match official e. g. ignoring an instruction/request from assistant referee or the fourth official”,
    • “minor/low-level disagreement (by word or action) with a decision”,
    • “occasionally leaving the confines of the technical area without committing another offence”
  • Caution
    • “clearly/persistently not respecting the confines of their team’s technical area”
    • “delaying the restart of play by their team”
    • “deliberately entering the technical area of the opposing team (non-confrontational)”
    • “dissent by word or action including throwing/kicking drinks bottles or other objects [or] gestures which show a clear lack of respect for the match official(s) e.g. sarcastic clapping”
    • “entering the referee review area (RRA)”
    • “excessively/persistently gesturing for a red or yellow card”
    • “excessively showing the TV signal for a VAR ‘review’”
    • “gesturing or acting in a provocative or inflammatory manner”
    • “persistent unacceptable behavior (including repeated warning offences)”
    • “showing a lack of respect for the game”
  • Dismissals
    • “delaying the restart of play by the opposing team e.g. holding onto the ball, kicking the ball away, obstructing the movement of a player”
    • “deliberately leaving the technical area to show dissent towards, or remonstrate with, a match official [or] act in a provocative or inflammatory manner”
    • “enter the opposing technical area in an aggressive or confrontational manner”
    • “deliberately throwing/kicking an object onto the field of play”
    • “entering the field of play to confront a match official (including at half-time and full-time) [or] interfere with play, an opposing player or match official”
    • “entering the video operation room (VOR)”
    • “physical or aggressive behaviour (including spitting or biting) towards an opposing”
    • “player, substitute, team official, match official, spectator or any other person (e.g. ball boy/girl, security or competition official etc.)”
    • “receiving a second caution in the same match”
    • “using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures”
    • “using unauthorised electronic or communication equipment and/or behaving in an inappropriate manner as the result of using electronic or communication equipment”
    • „violent conduct“

The kicking of an object shall be punished in the same way as the throwing of an object. The game continues with an indirect free kick.

  • Reason: It is unsportsmanlike.
  • Historical development: none.
Law 13: Free kick

If it is clear that an indirect free kick cannot score a goal directly (because of the distance to the opponent’s goal, e.g. in indirect free kicks after an offside offence), the referee need only display the indirect free kick signal until the free kick has been taken, not until the next touch.

  • Reason: “The referee only needs to maintain the signal until the kick is taken because running whilst showing the signal is not easy”.
  • Historical development: The sign for free kicks (and other game situations indicated by the assistant referee and the assistant referee) was established in 1973,

During a free kick in one’s own penalty area, the ball no longer needs to be kicked directly out of this area to be in play. The ball is in play when it clearly moves. Opponents must be outside the penalty area and at least 9.15 m / 10 yd away from the ball.

  • Reason: “The experiment […] has produced a faster and more constructive restart.”
  • Historical development: This law was introduced in 1937 in relation to the law change of the goal kick in 1936. Both laws were introduced to protect the goalkeeper „from wild attacks and injuries“1)Cf. Koppehel, Carl: Wieder Regeländerungsanträge. Ballgewicht, Freistoß im Strafraum und Schiedsrichterball. („Law amendments, again. Ball weight, free kick in the penalty area and dropped ball.) In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No. 9. p. 97-99, here p. 98. Further reports on the law amendment of the 1936 concerning the goal kick: 1) Koppehel, Carl: Klarheit um die Abstossregel („Clarity about the goal kick law“). In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No. 1. p. 1-2, here p. 1. 2) Huelsmeier, H.: Des „Wippertjes“ Ende (= The end of the goalkeeper who just lob the ball to team mate). In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No, 1. p. 11.. This law change in 1936 was clearly criticized in Germany. I described it in the article Possible IFAB law amendments 2019 from a historical point of view.

If there is a defensive „wall“ of at least three players, all attacking team members must be at least 1 m / 1 yd away from the „wall“ until the ball is in play.

  • Reason: Frequently, this causes time play and “management problems“, as well as against the spirit of the game.
  • Historical development: The LotG never mentioned the wall as a term up to now, but through paraphrases. It is therefore not possible for me to present a historical development. I only found a few references. One reference in the Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung of 1939 to the construction of the wall. In one of the articles, „Regelauslegung und Spieltaktik“ („Law interpretation and game tactics“), it reads: „The wall of the defending players has become modern with a free-kick near the goal. It was formed with five players. The Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung finds: „The [wall forming in general] is unsportsmanlike and must be prevented. Such artificial advantages must not apply“.2)Cf. Koppehel, Carl: Regelauslegung und Spieltaktik. In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 21 (No. 15, 01.08.1939).
    Even in 1987 the wall was seen as „detrimental to the best interests of the game of football“. This is what the protocol of the AGM of the IFAB of 1987 states. The Editorial Committee should make suggestions for improvement. How these turned out is not documented. But it is documented, however, that as early as 1987 people began to think about the wall: a wall must consist of at least three players. But it is still the question of where or at what distance the other players of the defending team have to stand. Without regulation its „could cause the referee major problems“. These big problems are solved now.
Law 14: Penalty kick

“The goalposts crossbar and goal net must not be moving” and the goalkeeper is not allowed to touch them.

  • Reason: No reason given yet; only that the referee is not allowed to release the game in such cases.
  • Historical development: None.

The goalkeeper must only be at the level of the goal line with one foot, no longer with both feet.

  • Reason: Facilitates the recognition whether the goalkeeper has one foot on the line than both.
  • Historical development: The range of movement of the goalkeeper has changed several times since the introduction of the penalty kick in 1891:
    • 1891-1906: the goalkeeper may approach the ball up to 6 steps / 5.5 meters (as all other players except the penalty kicking one)
    • 1906-1929: the goalkeeper must be standing on the goal line or behind it,
    • 1929: the goalkeeper „must stand on his [her] goal line“ -> causes different interpretations: In England the goalkeeper had to stand motionless on the line, in Germany he/she had to stand on the goal line, but could move to the right and left,
    • 1930-1980: the goalkeeper must stand still on the goal line (= must not move feet),
    • 1980-today: the goalkeeper must stand on the goal line but may move to the right and left.

If an offence occurs during the penalty kick between the signal of the referee and the kick, the referee may take disciplinary action.

  • Reason: “If an offence occurs after the referee has signaled for a penalty kick to be taken but the kick is not taken, a free kick cannot be awarded as the ball has not been put into play; the necessary disciplinary action can still be taken.”
  • Historical development: none.
Law 15: The Throw-in

The opposing players must be at least 2 m / 2 yd from the point on the touchline where a throw-in is to be made, even if the thrower returns from the line.

  • Reason: “This covers situations where a player takes a throw-in some distance from the touchline”.
  • Historical development: Only in the rules of Sheffield FC and Sheffield FA was a distance at the throw-in mandatory (= 1858-1877). Here it was 5.5 m / 6 yd.
Law 16: Goal kick

The ball no longer has to be kicked directly out of the goal area to be in play. The ball is in play when it clearly moves. Opponents must be outside the penalty area and at least 9.15 m / 10 yd away from the ball.

  • Reason: “The experiment […] has produced a faster and more constructive restart.”
  • Historical development: This law was introduced in 1936 to protect the goalkeeper „from wild attacks and injuries“3)Cf. Koppehel, Carl: Wieder Regeländerungsanträge. Ballgewicht, Freistoß im Strafraum und Schiedsrichterball. („Law amendments, again. Ball weight, free kick in the penalty area and dropped ball.) In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No. 9. p. 97-99, here p. 98. Further reports on the law amendment of the 1936 concerning the goal kick: 1) Koppehel, Carl: Klarheit um die Abstossregel („Clarity about the goal kick law“). In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No. 1. p. 1-2, here p. 1. 2) Huelsmeier, H.: Des „Wippertjes“ Ende (= The end of the goalkeeper who just lob the ball to team mate). In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No, 1. p. 11.. This law change in 1936 was clearly criticized in Germany. I described it in the article Possible IFAB law amendments 2019 from a historical point of view.

 


 

The header is a wordle from the German edition of Laws of the Game for 2016/17.

Fußnoten   [ + ]

1. Cf. Koppehel, Carl: Wieder Regeländerungsanträge. Ballgewicht, Freistoß im Strafraum und Schiedsrichterball. („Law amendments, again. Ball weight, free kick in the penalty area and dropped ball.) In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No. 9. p. 97-99, here p. 98. Further reports on the law amendment of the 1936 concerning the goal kick: 1) Koppehel, Carl: Klarheit um die Abstossregel („Clarity about the goal kick law“). In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No. 1. p. 1-2, here p. 1. 2) Huelsmeier, H.: Des „Wippertjes“ Ende (= The end of the goalkeeper who just lob the ball to team mate). In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No, 1. p. 11.
2. Cf. Koppehel, Carl: Regelauslegung und Spieltaktik. In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 21 (No. 15, 01.08.1939).
3. Cf. Koppehel, Carl: Wieder Regeländerungsanträge. Ballgewicht, Freistoß im Strafraum und Schiedsrichterball. („Law amendments, again. Ball weight, free kick in the penalty area and dropped ball.) In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No. 9. p. 97-99, here p. 98. Further reports on the law amendment of the 1936 concerning the goal kick: 1) Koppehel, Carl: Klarheit um die Abstossregel („Clarity about the goal kick law“). In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No. 1. p. 1-2, here p. 1. 2) Huelsmeier, H.: Des „Wippertjes“ Ende (= The end of the goalkeeper who just lob the ball to team mate). In: Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung 19 (1937), No, 1. p. 11.