Law Changes

With the new season getting ever closer, I thought it would be good to look at some of the changes to the laws of the game (LOTG) that the IFAB have made.

The most notable change is to Law 8, The Start and Restart of Play. The ball now no longer needs to be played forward. When refereeing young children I would sometimes have to tell them that they needed to play it into the oppositions half. Thinking about it I’ve had to tell a few adult teams too! Another change to this law is the restart at corners and free-kicks. “Clearly moves” has been added to the law so teams will no longer be able to do sly touches to catch their opponents off guard, like Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs did to Chelsea in 2009.

Another one that stands out is a change to what is being called the ‘triple punishment law’. Previously if a player player committed a foul and it denied a goal scoring opportunity he would’ve automatically been sent off. Now, if the foul is deemed to be accidental as opposed to reckless a yellow card will be enough punishment. I think this is a good change and will keep the games competitive.

When a player goes down injured, if the offending player is cautioned or sent off, the injured player does now not need to leave the field of play for quick treatment.For me this should have been changed to be under the referees control completely. A player could pick up and injury from a challenge that does not warrant a yellow or red card, but he/she may not really need to leave the pitch for treatment.

Players will no longer be booked for a handball stopping an opponent receiving possession of the ball but will be cautioned if it stops a promising attack. I can see this still causing controversy as it will be the referees opinion if the attack was going to be promising or not, and the TV pundits will have looked at 100 different camera angles to prove the referee wrong!

Also being outlawed is the last second stutter before taking a penalty, with those found guilty of the illegal feint will be shown a yellow card and an indirect free-kick awarded to the opposition. This will be interesting to see this one enforced!


2016/17 Season Is Almost Here

It’s been too long since I wrote anything. I have been too busy to be able to sit down and write the things I have wanted to during the recent European Championships in France.

With every upcoming season I always look out for the proposed change the law makers will make to the beautiful game and if it will improve things, especially from a referees point of view. The last few days has seen the Premier League and the Football league announce tougher actions on those abusing officials.

The Telegraph reported: ‘new zero-tolerance crackdown on “intolerable” treatment of referees has been promised across professional football next season in an attempt to finally end the culture of abuse at every level of the national game. The Premier League, the Football League and the Football Association announced yesterday that elite officials would be instructed to take a far stricter approach if they are subjected to dissent, intimidation and physical contact from players or managers”

I personally can’t believe it has taken this long for the powers that be to make a stand on abusive players. The FA launched their Respect campaign in 2008 and while it has been fantastic and made a massive improvement it would have made sense to clamp down on this type of behaviour then, as this isn’t a new problem which has recently began. One of the most famous scenes of this sort of thing was back in 2000 when Manchester United players surround referee Andy D’Urso and forced him retreat from the penalty area to the edge of the pitch, and I think only the captain Roy Keane was booked.

Today’s youth watch their heroes on TV and try to copy them in the playground and on the pitch when they play for their team at the weekend. Unfortunately this isn’t just skills and the way they wear their kits its the abusiveness they copy too. I have seen it all to often than youngsters think its okay to shout at the referee, and from my experience the coaches can influence and encourage this behaviour.

As a referee it is important to understand a players frustration but to not let them think they can get away with any type of abuse. I usually say this to the captains when doing the coin toss, explaining that anything shouted at me from distance, anything foul or abusive language would see that player cautioned or dismissed. I ask them its their responsibility to keep their players in check before I have to get the cards out.

The mentality, has in the past, seemed to be that it is okay to swear at referees in the Premier League so I am glad something is being done. But I can help but be a little sceptical.I would really like it to work so hope the referees are strong and do not shy away from sending someone off for something that the rest of don’t see or hear!


Thanks for reading, I hope to be able to write more for the coming season and will try to cover some leagues other that the Premier League.