The International Football Association Board (IFAB) and FIFA introduced several rule changes this year. The most noticeable will be a change to goal kicks, which no longer need to leave the penalty area and are considered “in play” on the first touch. Opponents still need to leave the penalty area until the ball is in play.

The changes are posted on the IFAB website, and here is a condensed version from the Ohio South State Referee Committee:

IFAB 2019-20 Laws of the Game Changes Quick Reference Guide

Law 3 – Substituted player leaving the field

Substituted players are now required to leave the field of play at the nearest point on the boundary line. Once the substituted player has left the field, the substitute may enter

Law 5 – Yellow and red cards to team officials

  • Coaches and team officials may now be shown yellow and red cards for irresponsible behavior
  • If the offender cannot be identified, the senior team coach present will receive the card

Law 5 – Injured penalty taker

If a penalty has been awarded and the injured player will take the kick, they may be quickly assessed and treated on the field of play and be allowed to remain in the game

Law 8 – Coin Toss

  • The team that wins the coin toss may choose to take the first-half kickoff or which goal it will attack
  • The team that chose which goal to attack will take the second-half kickoff

Law 8/9 – Dropped Ball

  • The dropped ball procedure will no longer be performed between two opponents
  • In all situations where a dropped ball is to be performed, it will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball
  • The game shall be stopped and a dropped ball performed if it touches a match official on the field of play and one of the following results:
    • a team starts a promising attack or
    • the ball goes directly into the goal or
    • the team in possession of the ball changes
  • The ball is dropped for the defending team goalkeeper in their penalty area if, when play was stopped:
    • the ball was in the penalty area or
    • the last touch of the ball was in the penalty area

Law 12 – Handball

It is an offense if a player:

  • deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, including moving the hand/arm towards the ball
  • gains possession/control of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then:
    • scores in the opponent’s goal
    • creates a goal-scoring opportunity
    • scores in the opponent’s goal directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental

It is usually an offense if a player:

  • touches the ball with their hand/arm when:
  • the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger
  • the hand/arm is above their shoulder level (unless the player deliberately plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm)
  • ** The above offenses apply even if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from the head or body of another player who is close

Except for the above offenses, it is not usually an offense if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm:

  • directly from the player’s own head or body (including the foot)
  • directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close
  • if the hand/arm is close to the body and does not make the body unnaturally bigger
  • when a player is falling and the hand/arm is between the body and the ground to support the body but not extended laterally or vertically away from the body

Law 12 – Delaying a YC/RC

  • The referee may choose to delay the issuance of a yellow or red card if the non-offending team takes a quick free kick, has a clear goal-scoring opportunity and the referee has not started the carding procedure.
  • The card is administered at the next stoppage
  • If the foul was denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the delaying is used, then the player is cautioned

Law 13/16 – Defending Team Goal Kicks and Free Kicks in their penalty area

  • A goal kick or free kick in the defending team’s own penalty area is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves
  • The kick does not need to leave the penalty area
  • All opponents must be outside the penalty area and at least 10 yards away until the ball is in play
  • If a team takes a quick free kick and opponents do not have time to leave the penalty area, the opponents may intercept the kick but may not prevent the kick from being taken
  • For games with a build out line (typically U10 and younger), opponents can now cross the build out line when the ball is put in play (first touch).

Law 13 – The defensive wall

  • When there are three or more defending players forming a wall, all attacking players must remain at least 1 yard from the wall until the ball is in play
  • If, when a free kick is taken, an attacking player is within one yard of the wall formed by three or more defenders, an indirect free kick is awarded

Law 14 – Penalty kick – goalkeeper encroachment

When the ball is kicked, the defending goalkeeper is required to have only one foot touching or in line with the goal line