Premier League Rule Changes for 2019/2020
The introduction of VAR into the Premier League from the start of 2019/20 continues to spark debate. However, it’s just one of several new changes coming in for next season that could shake up the game as we know it.
VAR isn’t about to go away as this summer’s biggest talking point – particularly after England’s Nations League Finals experience – but here are a few other new additions for 2019/20 that you might well have missed…
What’s New for 2019/20 in the Premier League?
– A look at the new season’s rule changes
The big one. It divides opinion, but football fans are going to have to make peace with the fact VAR is here to stay. As things stand, VAR can only be called upon to look at four live match scenarios: goals, penalties, red cards and cases of mistaken identity. One thing’s for sure, however, expect the fevered debate over what constitutes a ‘clear error’ to rumble on for some time to come.
…or a winter break of sorts, to be more accurate. It’s perhaps no surprise the Premier League has opted to tread carefully given the fierce opposition many traditionalists have to the idea of a mid-season hiatus. Instead of a complete pause to proceedings, all teams will be given a two-week break – just at staggered starts. Five Premier League fixtures will take place over one weekend, with the 10 teams not in action playing the next weekend – meaning everyone can still look forward to their weekend football fix while half the Premier League enjoys a breather.
Now, here’s a change that seems so obvious it’s surprising it hasn’t happened yet. The Premier League could be set to see its first referee from another country officiate a game – although he’ll have to play a waiting game first. The 32-year-old Australian Jarred Gillett recently joined the PGMOL, the UK’s refereeing governing body – that means the experienced A-League referee will run the rule over Football League games full-time from next season – with the potential to step up to the Premier League if needed. If he does well, expect other top referees to start following in his footsteps.
SATURDAY NIGHT GAMES
Hate Strictly and The X Factor? The Premier League may be about to answer all your prayers with a new timeslot to look forward to in 2019/20. Following a successful trial run last season, Saturday evening games become a permanent fixture from August, with eight fixtures scheduled for prime-time viewing.
Picture the scenario: Your side is 1-0 down with two minutes to go, and the opposing manager still has one substitution up his sleeve. Any frustrated fan can guess what happens next. Player ‘X’ heads to the opposite end of the pitch before the board goes up, running down the clock for a few extra seconds as his team looks to preserve their precious lead. From this point forward, players will be obliged to leave the pitch at the nearest possible exit point. One of the most frustrating time-wasting offences in modern football could finally be consigned to history.
Life has just got far harder for strikers planning on using brute force and some gamesmanship for an advantage at direct free-kicks. Under the latest rule changes, attackers will no longer be allowed to have one of their players lining up as if they were part of the defensive team’s wall. The 1m rule is designed to give the defensive wall a greater level of protection. It’s probably good news for goalkeepers too given potential distractions will be cut down to a minimum.
GOALKEEPERS AND PENALTIES
One of the biggest bugbears for many football fans finally gets fixed next season as goalkeepers come under much tougher scrutiny at penalties. At least one part of the foot must be on the goal-line when the attacker steps up, and referees have also been given freer reign to crack down on any ‘mind games’ from ‘keepers moving erratically or touching goalposts to put off penalty takers. Wobbly-legged keepers could become a thing of the past.
Expect plenty more controversy in the Premier League next season as the laws around handball get tightened up even further for 2019/20. Even if accidental, goals scored or created with the obstruction of a hand or arm will be disallowed from next season.
Football fans love some feisty behaviour on the sidelines, but more animated managers might have to reign in their behaviour from next season. Both yellow and red cards will now be awarded to any manager that steps out of line during a game. More evidence, if needed, why we need Neil Warnock back sharpish for another crack at the Premier League…
RIP. Perhaps fittingly, the drop-ball rule has been dropped for 2019/20 given the continuing confusion around when and where they should be awarded. Balls will now automatically be returned to the team that last touched the ball before the referee stopped play.
Do you agree with the new Premier League rule changes for 2019/20?
What new rule(s) would you bring in?
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