IFAB Announce Details of Law Changes for Season 2020-21

IFAB Laws of the Game Changes for 2020-21

IFAB have released details of the law changes that will come into effect next season.

The details are in the attached document; in most cases, they are clarifications or minor adjustments to existing laws.  There are no major changes.

Have a read and let me know what benefits (or challenges) the changes will bring to your games.

IFAB Clarification of the Goal Kick Law (Law 16)

Goal Kick Video – Aug 2019 August 2019 – IFAB Clarification of Goal Kick Law 16

Many people will have seen the recent game where the Benfica goalkeeper chipped a goal kick to a defender who then headed it back to him (see attached video).

There has been considerable debate whether or not this contravened the laws.

Along with some other points regarding goal kicks, IFAB have confirmed that this trick – although it does not contravene the laws as currently written – is not allowed.  If this occurs in a game, the goal-kick should be retaken without any further action taken against the players involved

Elleray: This should reduce controversy and confusion


David Elleray was the perfect figure to lead the team tasked with making the Laws of the Game more accessible, concise and clear by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), after he refereed with distinction at the top level of the English game for over a decade.

Elleray, who retired from refereeing in 2003, presented a new edition of the Laws of the Game at the 130th Annual General Meeting of the IFAB in Cardiff, and FIFA.com caught up with the former schoolteacher to discuss the changes.

FIFA.com: What impact will the revision of the Laws of the Game have?
David Elleray: The revision of the Laws of the Game is designed to make the Laws more accessible, not just to referees but to players, coaches and anybody that’s interested in football so they can understand the Laws. We’ve also brought them up to date because they had fallen behind the development of football. They are briefer Laws, with 10,000 words removed but with much greater clarity so everybody understands what decision a referee makes.

Who was involved in the revision process?
It was led by the IFAB technical sub-committee who did all the work; I was charged with leading them. We had regular consultations over 18 months with the IFAB football advisory panel (FAP) and technical advisory panel (TAP). It was actually with their support, especially the FAP with the players and coaches, which enabled us to bring in some slightly more radical changes and move things much faster than we had anticipated.

How important are the two advisory panels?
They have enabled us to effectively consult the world of football. In fact, the revision of the Laws of the Game has gone further and faster than we anticipated simply because of the extent of support from players and coaches from the different confederations. IFAB now understands better what people think in different footballing cultures and I think that gives us a greater strength to feel that when we recommend something it’s a correct recommendation for football.

What are the aims behind the revision?
I think the original aim was an extensive tidying up to make the language and structure clearer to make the Laws accessible. As we went into it more deeply, we became aware of more contradictions and wording which was open to too many conflicting but equally valid interpretations. That wasn’t going to help referees or football in general. We very much looked at making the Laws fair, encouraging Fair Play, and we had at the back of our minds the thought, “What would football expect?’ We think we’ve moved the Laws much more to what people in football would expect to happen in certain situations.

Can you talk us through the most significant alterations to the Laws?
In a way, the change to ‘triple punishment’ is part of the revision but others include; a player who is injured by a yellow or red card foul can have quick treatment and not have to leave the field of play because that seemed unfair. Where a foul occurs off the field of play, as part of play, that is restarted with a free kick and not a drop ball. Also, trying to stop unfairness with penalty kicks, a stronger punishment if the kicker doesn’t behave correctly, whether he scores or not it will always be a free kick. If the goalkeeper moves early and the kicker doesn’t score it will be a retake but also a yellow card for the goalkeeper.

What benefits does the revision offer?
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. I think more people will be able to understand the Laws because the book is much clearer and if people understand the Laws they will be more accepting of referees’ decisions, that’s not just spectators but players and coaches. Also, for the first time ever, the Laws are gender neutral in terms of language and I think that makes a significant point that the Laws of the Game and football are not just for men.

Will the revision make future additions or alterations to the Laws easier?
I think so, because we used to have the front of the book which told you what the Law was, and the back which told you how to interpret that Law. Often people only read the front and not the back, so by bringing that altogether that makes it clearer and easier in the future.

Where can fans, players, coaches find the new version of the Laws?
In May we will be launching the IFAB website (theifab.com) and the whole book and each individual Law will be available for download. Increasingly, we’ll have more educational material on the website, explaining the Laws with video clip examples of offences and how they’re dealt with.

World Cup referee Collina welcomes video trials

Former World Cup final referee Pierluigi Collina has welcomed the introduction of video technology trials to assist officials and said on Sunday it will end years of frustration for the men in the middle.

Collina, the most distinctive and famous referee of modern times, remembered for his piercing blue eyes and bald head, also said the revised laws of the game were a major development in bringing all interested parties in the game together.

The decisions to allow a two-year experiment with video technology and change a number of the game’s laws were announced on Saturday by football’s law-making body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), after a meeting in Cardiff.

The laws, extensively rewritten for the first time since they were formulated in the 19th century, have been edited from 22,000 to 12,000 words by former Premier League referee David Elleray with some input from, among others, Collina, who took charge of the 2002 World Cup final between Brazil and Germany.

The 56-year-old Italian, who is now UEFA’s head of refereeing, said in a telephone interview with Reuters from his home in Forte dei Marmi, Italy that he welcomed the changes, which have been made following years of debate.

“Being a referee and being assessed, not based on what we can see but by TV camera images, leaves many referees frustrated,” he said.

“Half of the football community cannot understand that a mistake committed by the referee is only committed because he is a human being and cannot see every incident.

“So the use of video assistance will help the referee enormously. I am not sceptical about this.

“The referee on the field tries to do his best but he has not been assessed on what he can see, but what the television shows. Just think how difficult it is to correctly assess an offside incident sometimes, for example.”


Collina, who until last week worked closely with new FIFA president Gianni Infantino in the latter’s role as UEFA’s general secretary, agrees that the Swiss is right to take a cautious approach now he is in football’s top job.

“As Gianni Infantino said in Cardiff, we have to be cautious because there are instances in play which are difficult to assess by TV images,” said Collina.

“Imagine a push. It is difficult to assess the intensity of a push by television and there are other areas which could create problems, but generally speaking we have taken a big step forwards.

“At UEFA we have done our best to support the referee. But certainly if you have 32 cameras positioned at different angles with high definition, the referee cannot see what 32 cameras can show, that’s impossible.

“In the past that has been frustrating for the referee but now we can see if some of this technology can help the referee and that is very positive.”

One of the major revisions to the laws, also for a trial period, is downgrading the so-called “triple punishment” of sending off, penalty and suspension for denying an opponent a goalscoring opportunity in the penalty area.

Players will now be cautioned rather than red-carded if they make a serious attempt to get the ball but commit a foul, and Collina is delighted with the change.

“We at UEFA we are happy about this as we worked hard to achieve this,” he said. “It is something very positive as the entire world of football — players, coaches and everyone — has been asking for this for a long time and we are delighted that this change will be implemented from Euro 2016.”

Another law change likely to have a significant impact is that in future a player who has been injured by a reckless and cautionable challenge does not have to leave the field after treatment and wait to be waved back on by the referee.

“This was something that needed to be changed and I am proud we made this contribution to IFAB and IFAB has put this change in place,” said Collina. “It restores fair play and means that the team victimised is not playing 10 against 11 for a while.”

The law changes will take effect from June 1 and be in place for the 2016 European Championship in France, with video trials implemented no later than the start of the 2017-18 season.


A landmark decision by the International Football Association Board (The IFAB) at its 130th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Cardiff, Wales, will pave the way for the introduction of live experiments with video assistant referees in football.



Today’s (5 March) meeting, held at the St David’s Hotel and chaired by the President of the Football Association of Wales David Griffiths, also saw the most substantial revision of the Laws of the Game get the green light plus key outcomes on other agenda items including “triple punishment”.

The first item on the agenda was the comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game – an 18-month project of The IFAB Technical Sub-Committee, led by former English Premier League referee David Elleray. The IFAB unanimously approved the revision, which they identified as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to address anomalies and inconsistencies in the Laws.

While the main focus is improving the structure and phraseology – with each Law and interpretation now combined, the word count halved and gender neutral language used throughout – some of the 94 edits also include Law changes that are based on common sense and meeting the needs of the modern game. For example, the ball will be able to move in any direction from the kick-off rather than only moving forward (Law 8), while a player who is injured by a challenge punished by a yellow/red card can now have a quick assessment/treatment on the field rather than having to leave the field which gave the offending team a numerical advantage (Law 5). It represents the most comprehensive revision of the Laws ever undertaken in The IFAB’s 130-year history.

With regard to video assistance for match officials, The IFAB approved in principle a detailed set of protocols for the experiments and agreed they should be conducted for a minimum of two years in order to identify the advantages, disadvantages and worst-case scenarios. The set of protocols were drawn up by The IFAB’s Technical Sub-Committee, with support from FIFA’s Technology Innovation Department, and followed discussions with the Football Advisory Panel and Technical Advisory Panel as well as football associations, leagues, other sports and technology providers. The IFAB agreed that live experiments should be implemented at the latest for the 2017/18 season.

The expectation is not to achieve 100% accuracy in decisions for every single incident, but to avoid clearly incorrect decisions that are pre-defined “game-changing” situations – goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and mistaken identity. The IFAB agreed to allow one type of experiment, which will involve a video assistant referee having access to video replays during the match and either reviewing an incident on request by the referee, or communicating with the referee proactively about an incident that he/she may have missed.

The experiments will be managed and overseen by The IFAB with the support of FIFA. A university will be selected to conduct a research study, which will focus not only on refereeing but also on the impact on the game itself, including the emotions of the stakeholders, in order to provide The IFAB with a strong basis for the decision-making process. The IFAB will meet with interested competition organisers and FIFA in the coming weeks in order to define a schedule for the next 24 months. This will include a pre-testing phase with an experiment done in a controlled ‘non-live’ environment as well as referee trainings, workshops and onsite preparation for experiments to be implemented in two testing phases across a number of competitions/leagues. The experiments of testing phase two will be modified based on findings of testing phase one. Further information will follow once the schedule is defined.

Also on the agenda was the so-called “triple punishment” of sending off, penalty and suspension for the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity within the penalty area. After a long debate, The IFAB unanimously approved a new wording for Law 12 as submitted by UEFA and agreed that it should be implemented globally for a two-year trial period followed by a review by The IFAB.

The IFAB also agreed to allow experimentation with a fourth substitution in extra time within a competition/league(s) still to be decided on. The aim will be to see whether there is player welfare benefit, whether the fourth substitute is used tactically or genuinely for player welfare, whether the potential use of all four substitutes during extra time (and thus change more than a third of the team) has an unfair impact.

The modifications to the Laws of the Game made at today’s AGM will come into effect on 1 June 2016.

The 131st Annual General Meeting is set to take place in London on 4 March 2017.


International Football Association Board AGM to Meet in Cardiff


New FIFA President, Gianni Infantino

The International Football Association Board will hold it’s 130th Annual General Meeting, in Cardiff, between the 4th and 6th March 2016.

There is no question that the upcoming meeting of the body responsible for law changes will be very important to the future of our game.

The voting process is very much in favour of FIFA and this will be the first meeting for the new president Gianni Infantino who will certainly have to get to grips with some major issues, which of course go to the vote.

The Football Association (1 vote)
Scottish Football Association (1 vote)
Football Association of Wales (1 vote)
Irish Football Association (1 vote)

The agenda is certainly a full one with various topics up for consideration.

– The use of video technology to aid the referee decision-making process. Here I expect the IFAB to agree to allow specific competitions to operate an experiment and then to feed back the detailed technical results. I do hope that Major League Soccer will be allowed to assist in this experiment.

– Denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity. The discussion centres around triple jeopardy with regard to this offence. The playing side would like to see the removal of the red card for DOGSO when the offence takes place in the penalty area.

– Sin Bins. I would certainly like to see more information on how these will operate and fear that it may lead to weak refereeing if introduced.

– Introduction of a fourth substitute

– IFAB will receive a report on the introduction of the FIFA Quality Programme on electronic tracking systems

– Unsporting behaviour of players and coaches on and off the field of play.

Finally another important topic will be the comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game in terms of structure, layout, terminology, phrasing and consistency.

The aim of the revision is to increase the universality and acceptance of the Laws by making them easier to understand and interpret. The new format is expected to be included in the 2016/2017 editions, subject to approval at this board meeting.

Swansea Referees Society © 2009-2021 · Log in