Understanding the new English Premier League rules

Published 08/06/2015, 12:48 PM EDT

With yet another edition of the English Premier League all set to kick off this weekend, there have been a few changes which supposedly have been made to ensure better quality of the game and increase the accountability of the decisions taken. With the referees often finding themselves in the firing line, more so last season, the FA has added a new set of rules. This regular change is done almost every few years to accommodate the latest issues in the game and to keep the game up with the newer trends.


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The first and the most important additions to the rule-book is the addition of feigning injuries. This basically claims that a player could be suspended for feigning injury, with the duration depending on the impact of that injury on the game. Explaining in a simpler manner,  player X tackles player Y. If Y feigns an injury and his foul play is not caught at that very moment, X would be warned or sent off. If at a later stage the referee does review the situation and understands that player Y has faked the injury, the player Y will now be liable to face charges and may even face with a 3 match ban.

It’s impact would have been visible in the West Ham vs Swansea game last year when Chico Flores faked his injury, which caused Andy Caroll to be sent off. After reporting the incident later, Chico Flores still won the appeal, and Caroll’s ban stood even though he was not at fault.


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How Caroll hit Chico Flores.                                              Image Courtesy: Daily Mail.
The after scenes.                                         Image Courtesy: Daily Star.

The second change is an addition to the code of conduct outside the field for the technical staff. All though this had already been there, this has been made more conspicuous now. Explaining the rule: If manager X does any gesture to insult/mock/disturb the other team directly or indirectly, it is up to the referee to warn the staff about his behaviour. If X repeats the same again, the referee has the authority to suspend the staff for the rest of the game.

Dragonball-esque.                                       Image Courtesy: Daily Mail

There have been various instances of it last year, including the infamous bout of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. It could’ve resulted in both the managers receiving a warning. Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson also escaped a disciplinary charge by the FA committee for fist-handling Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur.

The Nigel Pearson fist-fight.                                                        Image Courtesy: The Independent.

The third and the most influential change in comparison to the previous season would be the tweak in the offside rule.According to the Premier League official site, it states:

“A player in an offside position shall be penalised if he; 1. Clearly attempts to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or; 2. Makes an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball.”

This makes the offside rule even more ambiguous and makes it completely dependent on the referee and the linesman’s viewpoint. Tony Pulis, the West Brom manager claims it “muddies the water even more.” “It makes the rule even more frightening”, as he told BBC Radio 5 live. “It is not a rule. A rule is black and white. Offside is not. It is going to be left to the referee’s discretion.” Clearly, this decision has its own set of supporters and critics, but we would know how successful it is only when the season starts.

To explain the change in rule, the video, from 0:57 explains the rule.


It basically removes the cases when the player who is already in an offside position(let it be X)  suddenly moves himself. While according to previous rules, it was neither an attempt or a touch so it’s not an offside. But due to the changed rules, if the movement of the player X somehow effects the opponent team player’s chances to take the ball, it’s counted as an offside too. Like this goal by Diego Costa last season which would have been offside now.

The ball rebounded after hitting the post and was then put into the net. But with effect now, it would be counted offside even before it hit the post. Also understood from this is the Manchester United vs Stoke game in which United won 2-1.


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This shot was hit by Juan Mata and barely missed Marcus Rojo before finding itself into the net. It was given a goal, but now as the attempt by Marcus Rojo changed the dynamics of the Stoke defenders, it could be given an offside depending on the referee.

What do you think these changes mean to the Premier League? Are they for the good, or just another of the superfluous changes? Tell us in the comments!


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Srivats Venkateswaran

139 articles

Red Devil forever. Engineer by nature, Football by the heart. Sugar, Spice and a whole lotta tadka on the side.



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