The Premier League is set to implement new rules next season, after the International Football Association Board (IFAB) made changes to the use of pitch-side monitors and also offered an explanation of which part of the arm can be penalised as handball.
Football’s law-making body has addressed a number of the controversial aspects of officiating the game, such as the use of the video assistant referee (VAR) and handball and penalty kick decisions.
Referees are likely to spend much more time looking at pitch-side monitors next season as a result.
Before now, officials in England depend on VAR officials to make decisions.
“Where a reviewable incident is subjective, the expectation is that the referee will undertake an ‘on-field review’,” the IFAB said in a statement.
“It was furthermore agreed that more insight into the decision-making process, for example access to the conversation between match officials during a review, would not be appropriate at this point, but that more effort should be made to enhance existing communication approaches to improve understanding of the review process and the referee’s final decision.”
IFAB has also provided a clarification on controversial ‘accidental’ handball decisions.
“Accidental handball by an attacking player should only be penalised if it ‘immediately’ results in a goal or an obvious opportunity for the player and/or their team to score a goal (i.e. following the handball, the ball travels only a short distance and/or there are very few passes).
“For the purposes of determining handball offences, the ‘arm’ stops at the bottom of the armpit,” the statement added.
Another key change offers clarity on if a goalkeeper is deemed to come off their line, during the taking of a penalty kick.
From next season, a goalkeeper coming off the line will only lead to the retaking of a penalty if the initial kick is saved.
As such, penalties which miss the target will not be retaken even if the goalkeeper comes off the line.
The IFAB also confirmed that it is reviewing the offside law, with a view to making the margin of error greater and avoiding ‘armpit offsides’.