New football rules: What’s changing for 2020-21?

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November 26, 2020
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New football rules: What’s changing for 2020-21?

New football rules are being introduced for the 2020-21 season that will affect areas of the game from offside to penalty kicks.

Here, we’ll summarise the key points so players, managers, officials, supporters, clubs and leagues can be ready.

blog-new-football-rules-refereeLaw 1 - The Field of Play
Goalposts and the crossbar can be a combination of the four basic shapes

Law 10 - Determining the Outcome of a Match  
Yellow cards and warnings aren’t carried forward into penalty kicks

Law 11 – Offside
Deliberate handball by a defending player is deemed ‘deliberate play’ for offside

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct 

Handball is the boundary between the shoulder and the arm is defined as the bottom of the armpit

‘Accidental’ handball by an attacking player (or team-mate) is only penalised if it happens ‘immediately’ before a goal or clear goal-scoring opportunity


A goalkeeper can receive a yellow card or be sent off for ‘illegally’ touching the ball a second time after a restart (e.g. goal kick, free kick), even if the touch is with the hand/arm

Any offence (not only a foul) which ‘interferes with or stops a promising attack’ should result in a Yellow card

A player who doesn’t respect the 4m required distance at a dropped ball should receive a Yellow card

If the referee plays advantage or allows a ‘quick’ free kick for an offence which ‘interfered with or stopped a promising attack’, the Yellow card is not

Law 14 – The Penalty Kick 

An offence by the goalkeeper is not penalised if a penalty kick misses the goal or rebounds from the goal (without a touch from the goalkeeper), unless the offence clearly affected the kicker

The goalkeeper is warned for the first offence; it is a Yellow card for any further offence(s)

The kicker is penalised if the goalkeeper and the kicker offend at exactly the same time

New football rules - FA Summary

You can download and read the International Football Association Board's summary of the new football rules with changes and clarifications.

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