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!


Chapter 21 – Italy Vs Uruguay

There’s only one talking point from the games that took place yesterday, Luis Suarez and biting!


Something that I thought was a thing of his past, after rebuilding his reputation last season after being banned for biting Ivannovic in 2013.

From the referees point of view if he didn’t see the incident, and neither did his assistants, regardless of any marks that are there, he can’t take action.

FIFA however, can take action.

It’s a well known fact that players will do things off the ball and out of sight of the officials. Usually it’s pushing and pulling not something as serious as biting!

When FIFA look at the footage they will surely have to charge Luis Suarez. There is talk of a two year ban. Harsh? If it was the first time he’d bitten someone then yes. However it’s not the first, it’s not even the second, it’s an incredible third time!

As a fan of football, to not have Suarez playing for two years would make the game a little less exciting, as he has an incredible talent and a great scoring record.

As an official, I would support a lengthy ban. People who constantly get bans for violent conduct should be severely punished.

I’ve seen on social media some people calling for a lifetime ban. For me I wouldn’t go to that extreme……… yet!!

Chapter 14: Brazil 2014 is here!


So the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is upon us. One month of football and plenty of controversy awaits us, I’m sure!

As before all tournaments like the World Cup, the media and fans will be saying that refereeing needs to be consistent from start to finish. I have always said that this is almost impossible as each referee is his own person. They’ll see incidents from different angles. What one referee will consider a foul another might not.

Take for example the reputation of the English and Italian leagues. English is known for being quite physical where as in Italy players are more likely to go down under a challenge. (This isn’t necerserilly my view, it’s how I would say the leagues are perceived)

Would Howard Webb give a free kick/penalty for the same thing as Nicola Rizzoli would? Maybe, maybe not. But everyone has their view and you can’t expect everyone to referee the same!

20140612-095036-35436303.jpgEngland referee Howard Webb

If FIFA were to be consistent with punishments issued to those found guilty of cheating, corruption and racism in football then our beloved game will be in a much better state!

The interesting tool being used at this summers World Cup isn’t the use of goal line technology but the use of a spray that will stop the wall from encroaching. It disappears after a short while so should be a good thing for the refs.

I would like to end this chapter by wishing all the officials at the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil all the best.