IFAB recommends tweaks to rules starting next season

Saturday, 11 April, 2020 26comments  |  Jump to last

Rule changes set to come into effect next season could see greater clarification of the handball rule and pitch-side monitors used more frequently in the Premier League.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) have been reviewing some of the more controversial aspects of the game, ones that have become particularly acute since the introduction of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) and have recommended further tweaks to the Laws of the Game.

Under the new mandates, handball will be determined if the ball strikes a player below the armpit and goals will only be ruled out if an attacking player handles the ball immediately before the goal is scored.

That would theoretically prevent goals being disallowed for handballs that are missed by the on-field match officials and where the infringement occurred earlier in the move.

IFAB are also considering changes to the offside law to prevent "armpit" offsides by introducing a greater margin of error in what are currently hairline VAR decisions.

The rule-making body have also moved to ensure that referees undertake reviews of controversial incidents on monitors rather than leaving the decision up to VAR officials as has been the case in the Premier League this season where pitch-side reviews have been almost non-existent.

“Where a reviewable incident is subjective, the expectation is that the referee will undertake an ‘on-field review',” the IFAB said in a statement, suggesting that offside decisions, a more objective ruling, might still lie with VAR but penalty and red card decisions will return to the match-day official's purview.

Finally, going forward, penalty kicks will only be retaken for encroachment by the goalkeeper if the kick is saved.  

Reader Comments (26)

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Paul Kernot
1 Posted 11/04/2020 at 22:44:35
Get rid of VAR. Simple. Football has become less and less apealing since players have been paid millions and clubs basically buy trophies and league positions but VAR just makes it so much more frustrating. Its getting so far removed from what I saw and loved since I first went to Goodison in the mid sixties.
John Keating
2 Posted 11/04/2020 at 23:33:59
Agree, Paul,

The worst thing ever introduced into the game.

We'll finish up with an emotionless game unable to celebrate a goal for the 5 minutes it takes a supposed impartial half-wit to make a decision.

Brian Cleveland
3 Posted 12/04/2020 at 04:46:02
I'm with you guys. How to kill all excitement in one fell swoop.

It's just another way of ensuring we get the "correct" result should anyone have the temerity to challenge the hierarchy.

Complete tripe.

Alan J Thompson
4 Posted 12/04/2020 at 04:59:09
Can you legislate for commonsense or is just a completely inapt title?
Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 12/04/2020 at 08:53:52
All the tools, especially in Stockley Park, and still nothing in the laws that is going to come down hard on the cheats?

Be careful, football, because – for every person who is missing the game right now – I'm sure there might be another who is surprised that he's not missing football at all.

Mark Andersson
6 Posted 12/04/2020 at 21:33:10
Tony, I'm one of them who has lost all interest in the game...

I only come on here for the side issues and good banter...

Those new rules sound more confusing,; as other posters say, it's going to kill the spirit of the game.

Mike Connolly
7 Posted 12/04/2020 at 22:58:57
I've been going the game since 1967. Just reading Tony #5 comments, the scary thing is I know it's only a few weeks but I'm not missing it as much as I thought I would.

VAR is killing the game. I'd rather have an instant decision, be it right or wrong. At least we can have a discussion about it in the pub after the match. Obviously we'll all come to the same conclusion. "The ref was a biassed twat!"

Andy Crooks
8 Posted 12/04/2020 at 23:45:19
Tony, I think you are right. After a few weeks, I really don't miss it at all. In fact, I am appalled at the emotional investment I had in it. What I do miss is the interaction on this site after a game. However, that still exists to an extent.

The Premier League, to me, is utterly devalued. Who in their right mind will pay Sky a fortune in the future to watch this utterly iniquitous circus?

No-one like Niasse, and I'm only using him as an example because I am aware of him, will ever, in football, earn so much for so little. They are the lucky generation; they escaped from the last chance saloon set up for life. It's over.

Alex Carew
9 Posted 13/04/2020 at 00:35:47
It's weird to hear the comments about not missing the game but then I fully get it; I think it happens to us all one day. I was a crazy fan who would go every game, take time off work to get cup tickets, queue for the new kit and plan my whole life around the game with nothing else important in life.

I left for Australia 13 years ago and the first thing I did here was to pay for the sport and would sit up till 3 am most mornings. You gradually lose those blue-tinted glasses and see the game lose its spark. You wonder where value comes from in these players and get frustrated by the crap that is shown at times, the changing laws that have ruined the game, and the general whinging in the game, mostly observed from the so-called media elite.

Over here, the Rugby League has a salary cap and in those 13 years I think I have seen around 7 or 8 winners, it's nice to have it so competitive.

Don't get me wrong, I still love Everton with a passion but I definitely see the game for what it is through different eyes and I think more and more people are seeing it that way. Not sure how the game progresses after this virus but it would be nice to see the game make positive changes and not this crap they call VAR. The concept sounds great but still, it can be controlled by the elite due to refs input and that's not what it's meant to be.

Mike Gaynes
10 Posted 13/04/2020 at 01:08:02
VAR isn't going anywhere, guys. It's here, and it's here to stay, just like huge TV rights contracts and £300,000-a-week center backs and massive agent fees and ridiculous ticket and kit prices. And for the same reason.

The simple fact is that video review is now an integral part of every major spectator sport on earth except golf. No sport, no league adopting it has ever dropped it, or even considered dropping it. Ain't happening. Now or ever.

The problems this season were easy to anticipate, thanks to idiotic execution of the VAR system and even more idiotic rules interpretations. Best we can hope for is they sort out the problems sooner rather than later. But you might as well furl the flags on getting rid of VAR. That battle is over.

Derek Thomas
11 Posted 13/04/2020 at 01:26:38
I don't believe a word of it. The first game back will be a sell-out... especially if they resume 2019-20 season, as that was sold out anyway..

Even if it's with new fixtures, it will be a full house and the live forum will be heaving like some latter-day adult (and I use ther term loosely) monkey house / boys pen – no snowflakes need apply.

Where the attendances will trend long-term is anybody's guess – but day one will be busy.

Brian Cleveland
12 Posted 13/04/2020 at 05:03:53
Mike #7. Totally agree, rather have the ref make the decision and get it wrong than wait 5 minutes for a different interpretation of the rules. Part of the game is calling the ref a blind git, now the ref is a puppet. VAR is the worst thing to happen to football for many a year.

Unfortunately my view counts for bugger all, I'm not a moneybags deciding which team winning benefits my pockets most.

Dave Ganley
13 Posted 13/04/2020 at 08:17:16
Half the problem with VAR (aside from the obvious) is that you can't see what's going on inside the stadium. Correct me if I'm wrong but every other sport that has some sort of video ref replays the incidents on the big screen so paying customers can see what's going on.

It's so frustrating having a delay of 4 or 5 minutes and not even seeing the reviews that are being looked at. Problem is that I can't see football putting it on the big screen and that's a massive concern to me as a match goer. It's a big 2 fingers up to us.

I hate VAR with a passion but, if you're going to make us endure it, then at least let us see what's going on.

Martin Nicholls
15 Posted 13/04/2020 at 12:10:57
Derek #11 – you might be right and some of my mates have the same opinion. Personally, I'm not so sure – I have a season ticket and have renewed; however, my seat will be vacant for the first game back unless I can be absolutely certain it's 100% safe to go. I doubt there will be any such guarantee and suspect others will feel the same.

Like others, I have missed the pre-match pub get togethers with all my mates and the other regulars but can't say I've particularly missed the football itself. I think match going becomes a habit and of course habits are hard to break; however, once broken, some might find it easier not to go back.

Premier League clubs, the FA, Uefa and a number of high profile players like Grealish and Walker* have done the game no favours over the last four weeks or so and people have long memories.

* I would have included Niasse if his profile was as high as his wages!

Martin Nicholls
16 Posted 13/04/2020 at 12:13:06
As for VAR, I'm with Dave Ganley. I don't care how (well) it works in other sports – if has and never will have any place in mine.
Andy Mead
17 Posted 13/04/2020 at 12:39:27
VAR should be a good thing for the game if it was made simple to use. For example:

1. Players dives when he wasn't touched, the other team can ask for the ref to look at the incident and send a player off if he has dived. Would stop the diving straight away.

2. Players fakes injury. Other team asks ref to look at incident and the player wasn't headbutted, kicked, punched (add what you like), then player is sent off. Stops the cheating and rolling around.

3. Any club gets 3 of these incidents in a season then deduct 3 points as fines are no good to rich clubs. Watch managers and chairmen all over the land tell players to stop cheating as they can't afford to lose 3 points.

These are the only reasons to have VAR.

Kev Gibbs
18 Posted 13/04/2020 at 12:58:16
I'm with you, Andy. What a great idea. I think most genuine footy lovers would agree as well. Unfortunately it will never happen.

Dave @13. Match going supporters are last on the list of priorities for the football authorities. Basically they don't care what we think as they believe we will keep coming no matter what. They are probably right. We can only vote with our feet.

Paul Tran
19 Posted 13/04/2020 at 13:52:05
Two interesting topics on this thread.

I had a season ticket 1977-83. Still went to most games 83-86 when I was a student in Portsmouth, went to plenty of games in the 90s with ESCLA when I lived in London. When me arl fella passed away in 1999, coming up to the match and not meeting him just wasn't the same, so I started going less and less. Now that I'm up here in Highlands, I only go when I happen to be working close to Liverpool when there's a midweek game on. When I go now, the football is second fiddle to the craic before and after. Easy to see how people keep/drop the habit.

Regarding VAR, I think it was brought in to create more 'excitement' for the TV viewers with a shorter attention span. The referees' authority has been usurped and sub-contracted to an unaccountable bunch of people, who are increasingly looking to get further involved in the decision-making. When we score, my first reaction is to check for VAR – that can't be right.

Mike G is right in one sense. VAR is here to stay. Other sports may have it, but other sports aren't as good. I'm enjoying spending this time watching old matches. Slightly slower, more (in my view) genuinely skillful. Less interruptions. No constant messages rolling across the screen. Just the football.

It was better. Even when I wasn't there.

Dennis Stevens
21 Posted 13/04/2020 at 17:45:20
I've always thought the introduction of VAR technology was to pick up blatant omissions on the part of the officials on the pitch. The big problem seems to me that they're using it to explore niggling irrelevancies & taking far too long to do so.

If the incident under review doesn't relate to a booking, sending off, penalty or goal then don't bother with it.

Furthermore, if the use of VAR doesn't give a clear decision in a matter of seconds rather than minutes then we're in the realms of a subjective view & we may as well stick with the Refs original decision, seeing as his subjective view should be the one that counts. Less VAR, more football!

Tony Abrahams
22 Posted 13/04/2020 at 18:07:14
I was only speaking for myself when I said loads of people wouldn't be missing football as much as they thought, and then I've read some of the great stuff on this thread that makes me realise why I don't.

I think I will always go the game, it's in my blood, I shiver writing now, when I think of the green grass of Goodison, but why can't VAR, give us what Andy M, describes @17?

Football has become a television sport, and the more it's controversial, the longer people talk about it, until the next game, and this is the only genuine explanation I can think of..honestly?

I yearn for a level playing field like Alex describes in Aussie League, (what a sport that is?) and like Andy, I was thinking about my last visit to Goodison, when VAR, left most of stadium out-raged, and I couldn't believe how much it got to me, considering what we are facing now.

I will always go though, because yesterday had me remembering last Easter, a marvellous occasion, shared with old friends and new friends, and that's what football will always be about to me, a massive part of our lives, but obviously nothing compared to what we are witnessing right across our city, our country and the world right now.

Stay safe everyone, until you've seen Everton get a proper phoney VAR decision at least!

Brian Williams
23 Posted 13/04/2020 at 18:41:07
Tony, we're very good as a species of adapting to things and accepting what's happening now as the norm and getting on with it.
Alex Carew
24 Posted 13/04/2020 at 22:39:12
VAR should work, it has the potential to make all things fairer across the board... but it doesn't, as there are still options for the refs to use it or not.

From what I've witnessed this season, it's been more used as in: "Hmm, a goal against Liverpool, let's check VAR and see if there is any reason to rule it out?" This still is benefiting the so-called media elite and, until it's fair, which let's be honest, is never going to happen due to a bias of the so-called bigger clubs, then it will never change.

You only have to listen to how commentators can disagree on decisions, if there is TV footage that can be looked at, then the decision should be made easier. It's okay with the media trying to come up with tables of who has benefitted and who hasn't to try and make it look fair but, if you aren't using it properly, then the facts are wrong.

For example, the handball by Arsenal at Goodison that should have been a penalty, what happened? Nothing, they didn't even go to VAR. It was blatant handball and VAR should have advised the ref of that. This decision didn't go against anybody in the media stats as it wasn't used.

Either use it or lose it, that's my thoughts.

Eric Myles
25 Posted 14/04/2020 at 09:47:21
It's not the Laws that need changing, they just need to be applied with common sense. How is it possible that an armpit is offside? What advantage is gained?

And then to make a Law that allows infringements to be ignored as they didn't happen just before a goal was scored? How is that a help to anyone?

Dick Fearon
26 Posted 17/04/2020 at 08:12:18
So many bad VAR decisions have gone against Everton, it is no wonder we are fired up about it. When the 'big' clubs suffer as much as us, there will be wholesale changes or it will even be ditched.

When I came to regional West Australia, what I missed terribly was my Saturday of football. I was so desperate, I strung 100 yards of copper wire along the tree line and that was just to hear the second half of a 1st Division game (any game) on the BBC overseas broadcast. I believe the game will be more popular than ever but different in many ways.

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 17/04/2020 at 08:29:16
The thing about football is that cheating is ingrained into the fabric of the sport. We listen to the experts give us their opinions, but how can we trust them, when they've all been cheats themselves!?
Brian Murray
28 Posted 18/04/2020 at 21:01:17
If the FA and Sky get their way, there won't be a next season. All their focus is on appeasing Carragher and Co, regardless of any risk to the public.

Might sound dramatic but tell me another take on it.

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