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Premier League rule changes for the 2021/22 season: VAR, handballs, offside and change of course


The International Football Association Board (IFAB) is responsible for laws within the Premier League and often makes changes at the start of a new season.

These changes can have a significant impact in the game where often small margins make the difference between a goal, an offside, a penalty and often a win or a loss.

Dani Ceballos’ goal was disallowed by VAR after Bukayo Saka was ruled offside

With the new Premier League season kicking off on Friday August 13 with Brentford v Arsenal, we’re ready to see the new changes in action.

VAR has been a hot topic throughout the last campaign and it should hopefully be improved.

And so, before another eventful season, here’s what to watch out for …

Offside changes

The use of VAR in offside caused a lot of drama last season and has been the center of debate and scrutiny.

A clarification regarding the offside rule has been given by the IFAB where they note that the shoulder is not part of the arm for handball and when deciding an offside, “the upper limit of the arm is aligned with the bottom of the armpit “.

With fine lines on offside playing a big part in many games last season, this rule clarification could determine many marginal offside this season.

VAR are also expected to use “thicker lines” in games this season in the hopes that they will rule out instances where a player’s toe has led to a goal exclusion.

Handball changes

Law 12 under “Fouls and Misconduct” has been adjusted for the 2021/22 season as the IFAB blames inconsistencies with handball incidents.

Premier League rule changes for the 2021/22 season: VAR, handballs, offside and change of course
Josh Maja’s goal against Tottenham was disallowed for leading handball
AFP

Many goals in the 2020/21 season have been disallowed due to handballs from players in the preseason match, even accidental.

The IFAB has confirmed that: “Accidental handball which causes a teammate to score a goal or have an opportunity to score will no longer be considered an offense.”

However, it is a hand if a player scores in the opposing goal: directly with his hand / arm, even accidentally, or immediately after the ball hits his arm, even accidentally.

It is also a handball offense if a player touches the ball, for example by moving his hand towards the ball. Likewise, they clarified that if a hand / an arm makes the player’s body “unusually big”.

The referees were urged to continue to use their judgment to determine the position of the arm in relation to the movement after last season’s law was reviewed.

Header changes

Football governing bodies have agreed to new guidelines that limit the number of headers players are allowed to make.

The guidelines limit players to ten “higher strength” headers per week in training.

Heads of “higher strength” are those following a long pass (over 35m) or crosses, corners or free kicks.

The guidelines will apply to all clubs in the Premier League, from the EFL to all grassroots football, which encompasses all levels of the men’s and women’s league.

“Our heading advice now extends to all players, at all levels of the game,” said FA General Manager Mark Bullingham.

Evade the law

The IFAB said players will be cautioned and an indirect free kick will be awarded if a player takes a turn in order to pass the ball to the goalkeeper (head, chest, knee, etc.) to escape. the law of a back pass.

It will be an offense whether the goalkeeper touches the ball with the hands or not. This will also be applied if the goalkeeper initiates the round.

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