6 massive rule changes for the 2019/20 Premier League season

Published 05/21/2019, 12:27 PM EDT
The Premier League is set to undergo an overhaul with new changes being introduced in its rulebook.

The 2018/19 Premier League campaign was one of the most thrilling seasons in recent years. However, dodgy decisions and dubious calls by referees were also a major part of the dramatic action. 


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The Video Assistant Referee system is still being adapted to by players and managers in the Champions League, but the technology has greatly benefited the game. VAR is set to debut in the Premier League next season and it will surely be a game-changing introduction. 

Along with VAR, however, the Premier League rulebook is set to undergo several significant changes from the upcoming 2019/20 season in order to make the English game more just and fair. The changes have been approved by the International Football Association Board (IAFB).


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If the ball hits an attackers arm in the build-up to a goal, be it accidental or otherwise, the goal will be disallowed immediately. In addition, defending teams will be awarded a free-kick if an inadvertent handball creates an advantage for the opposing team. 

Fernando Llorente’s late goal against Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals should have been ruled out after the ball grazed the Spaniard’s hand before ending up in the back of the net. That goal turned the tie on its head as Tottenham Hotspur qualified for the semi-final stage on away goals. 


James Maddison attempting a free-kick versus Bournemouth.

Attackers are no longer allowed in the wall at free kicks as they create unnecessary hindrances for the defensive team. The wall does have to contain at least three players however, at which point all attackers must be at least a metre away.

“There is no legitimate tactical justification for attackers to be in the ‘wall’ and their presence is against the ‘spirit of the game’ and often damages the image of the game,” a statement by the International Football Association Board read.

Penalty kicks

Hugo Lloris saves a penalty from Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

From next season, goalkeepers must have one foot on the line. Not only that, but they are also forbidden from touching the posts before the kick.


We often see in the Premier League how a player wastes a lot of time to get substituted if his team is winning. This greatly frustrates the opponent team as their momentum is often hampered by the substitution’s actions. 

In the revised rulebook, however, whenever a player is substituted, they no longer have to leave the field near to the dugouts. Instead, they must leave the field at the nearest point. This will help maintain the speed of the game.  

Cards for coaches

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confronting referee Kevin Friend.

Coaches can now be dealt the same punishment as players, with referees allowed to brandish yellow and red cards to managers and backroom staff in the event of any misconduct.


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To prevent the team receiving the ball gaining an unfair advantage, all players of both teams, except the player receiving the ball, must be at least 4 metres (4.5 yards) away.


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The IAFB explained, “The current dropped ball procedure often leads to a ‘manufactured’ restart which is ‘exploited’ unfairly or an aggressive confrontation”.


Mehul Gupta

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