Rule Changes

Rule Changes for Fall, 2020

This page on the website describes changes to specific rules which have changed for the Fall, 2019 season.

Law 8. The Start and Restart of Play

Rule 2: Dropped ball procedure (Rule change affects all ages)

Background:

A drop ball occurs whenever a referee stops a game for a reason other than to administer a penalty. Previously, two players (one from each team) would face off for this restart; but for safety, the rule is changed so that the ball is dropped for a single player from the team that last touched the ball alone.

Rule Change:

The referee drops the ball for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the position where it last touched a player. All other players (of both teams) must remain at least 4 m (4.5 yds) from the ball until it is in play. The ball is in play when it touches the ground.

Law 9. The ball in and out of play

Rule 1: The ball out of play (Rule change affects all ages)

Background:

To prevent unfair advantages in some cases where a ball hits an official, the ball is considered "out of play" and a dropped ball restarts the play to continue the game when that happens.

Rule Change:

In addition to going out of bounds on a sideline or end line, a ball is considered "out of play" if it touches a match official and then (1) starts a promising attack; (2) scores a goal; or (3) changes possession to the opposite team. In all these cases, a dropped ball restarts the play.

Law 12. Fouls and misconduct

Rule 1: Direct Free Kick: Handling the Ball (Rule change affects all ages)

Background:

Handling the ball is the least understood and most improperly enforced law of the game. The laws of the game now explain what is handling the ball and what is not handling the ball in exhaustive detail.

Rule Change:

As before, handling the ball will be enforced when a player deliberately handles the ball. Unintentional (inadvertent) contact with the hands or arm are now penalized if it results in a goal or a goal scoring opportunity.

Law 12. Fouls and misconduct

Rule 3: Disciplinary action: Team officials (Rule change affects all ages)

Background:

Previously, yellow and red card offenses could only be administered to players. The new rules allow for sanctions against coaches for specific infractions.

Rule Change:

Team officials (coaches, assistant coaches) may be warned if:

  • entering the field of play
  • failing to cooperate with a match official

Team officials (coaches, assistant coaches) may be cautioned (yellow card) if:

  • clearly/persistently not respecting the confines of their team’s technical area
  • delaying the restart of play by their team
  • dissent by word or action
  • excessively/persistently gesturing for a red or yellow card
  • gesturing or acting in a provocative or inflammatory manner
  • persistent unacceptable behaviour
  • showing a lack of respect for the game

Team officials (coaches, assistant coaches) may be sent off (red card) if:

  • delaying the restart of play
  • deliberately leaving the technical area to
  • show dissent towards, or remonstrate with, a match official
  • act in a provocative or inflammatory manner
  • enter the opposing technical area in an aggressive or confrontational manner
  • deliberately throwing/kicking an object onto the field of play
  • entering the field of play to confront a match official (including at half-time and full-time)
  • entering the field of play to interfere with play, an opposing player or a match official
  • violent, physical or aggressive behavior
  • a second caution in the same match
  • using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures

If no coaches are available as a result of a sending off, the match is abandoned but may be rescheduled by the office in the following weeks. Alternately, if a field supervisor is available, the supervisor may take over coaching for the team for the remainder of the game per discretion.

Law 16. The goal kick

Rule 1: Procedure (Rule change affects ages 7-13 only)

Background:

Previously, a goal kick would have to clear the penalty area in order to be considered "in play." Now the ball is in play the moment it is touched and moves.

Rule Change:

The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves.