IFAB announces law changes, softening punishment for fouls inside the box
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has published changes to the laws of the game for the 2016/17 season, the most notable altering sending-off and cautionable offences inside the penalty area.
The previous ‘triple-punishment’ rule meant that a player who denied a goal-scoring opportunity was automatically red-carded and handed a suspension, as well as giving away a penalty.
However, the law has now changed so that players committing accidental fouls, that deny a goal-scoring opportunity, are not automatically sent off, but cautioned instead.
Players will still be sent off for holding, pulling or pushing, not playing the ball or having no possibility to play the ball, serious foul play, violent conduct or deliberate handball.
Referees’ powers have also been extended so that they can send off a player before kick-off, from the official’s pre-match pitch inspection onwards.
Announced on Thursday, the new laws also state the ball will also be able to move in any direction from kick-off, rather than only move forward.
Players who are injured by a challenge punishable by a yellow or red card can now have quick treatment on the field, rather than having to leave, which previously gave the offending team temporary numerical advantage.
IFAB announced last month their intentions to change the laws following a comprehensive, 18-month review, 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.
The IFAB, the game’s law-making body, also approved a two-year trial period of video technology to assist referees, to be used in four cases: to determine if a goal has been scored, red cards, penalties and mistaken identity.
And the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has announced it has been selected for the video technology trial following a meeting in London last week.
FIGC president Carlo Tavecchio said: “We were among the first supporters of using technology on the pitch and we believe we have everything required to offer our contribution to this important experiment.”
Tests initially will be in private before moving to a live pilot phase with replay assistance by the 2017/18 season at the latest, the IFAB decided last month.
Thirteen countries had been interested in trialling the scheme, including England and Scotland.