The revisions for the Laws of the Game 2021/2022 are once again further refinements aimed at providing clarification to some of the more confusing laws, as well as the addition of some small yet significant laws.
Law 7 – Duration of the Match
- Additional Text: allowance is made by the referee in each half for all playing time lost in that half
- Explanation: clarification that if, for example, there is a stoppage towards the end of the game that is longer than the remaining playing time, the ‘additional time’ played (and shown by the fourth official) is the remaining playing time, not the length of the stoppage.
Law 11 – Offside
Inclusion of the Law 12 definition of where the arm ends (bottom of the armpit) for the purposes of determining an offside/onside position
- Additional Text: the hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered. For the purposes of determining offside, the upper boundary of the arm is in line with the bottom of the armpit.
- Explanation: the shoulder is not part of the arm for handball. It is therefore a part of the body with which a goal can be legitimately scored and so must be considered when judging offside.
Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct
- New Text:
(…) Not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence.
It is an offence if a player:
- touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger.
- A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation.
- By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and being penalised
It is an offence if a player:
- scores in the opponents’ goal:
- directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper
- immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental
- Not every contact between the hand/arm and the ball is a handball offence.
- Referees must judge the ‘validity’ of the hand/arm’s position in relation to what the player is doing in that particular situation.
- Accidental handball by a team-mate before a goal is scored and accidental handball creating a goal-scoring opportunity have been removed as offences.
Indirect Free Kick
- Additional text:
An indirect free kick is awarded if a player:
- (…) initiates a deliberate trick for the ball to be passed (including from a free kick or goal kick) to the goalkeeper with the head, chest, knee etc. to circumvent the Law, whether or not the goalkeeper touches the ball with the hands; the goalkeeper is penalised if responsible for initiating the deliberate trick
- commits any other offence (…)
Disciplinary Action (Cautions for Unsporting Behaviour)
- Amended text:
There are different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour, including if a player:
usesinitiates a deliberate trick for the ball to be passed to pass the ball(including from a free kick or goal kick) to the goalkeeper with the head, chest, knee etc. to circumvent the Law, whether or not the goalkeeper touches the ball with the hands; the goalkeeper is cautioned if responsible for initiating the deliberate trick
The offence of using a ‘trick’ to circumvent the Law that prevents the goalkeeper from handling a deliberate kick from a team-mate will now apply at goal kicks. The goalkeeper is cautioned if responsible for initiating the ‘trick’.
Restart of Play after Fouls and Misconduct Behaviour
- Amended text:
- If the ball is in play and a player commits a physical offence inside the field of play against:
- an opponent – an indirect or direct free kick or penalty kick
- a team-mate, substitute, substituted or sent-off player, team official or a match official – a direct free kick or penalty kick
any other person – a dropped ball
- All verbal offences are penalised with an indirect free kick.
- If the referee stops play for an offence committed by a player, inside or outside the field of play, against an outside agent, play is restarted with a dropped ball, unless a free kick is awarded for leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission.
A free kick/penalty kick can only be awarded for an offence committed against someone on the team lists (players, substitutes, substituted players, sent-off players and team officials) or a match official. If play is stopped because of an incident involving any other person, animal, object etc. (outside agent), play restarts with a dropped ball, except where a free kick is awarded for leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission.
Non-Violent Inappropriate Behaviour (Laws 4, 5 and 12)
- To allow some forms of non-violent inappropriate behaviour (e.g. offensively touching another person) to be considered ‘offensive, insulting or abusive’ and thus a sending-off offence, ‘action(s)/acting’ replace ‘gesture(s)/gesturing’ in the relevant descriptions
- To allow some forms of non-violent inappropriate behaviour (e.g. offensively touching another person) to be considered ‘offensive, insulting or abusive’ and thus a sending-off offence, ‘action(s)/acting’ replace ‘gesture(s)/ gesturing’in the following Laws: