2020 Rule Changes

There have been some significant rule changes for the 2020 season.  You can find the current full field laws of the game here

I hope to have a presentation from the referees association on the changes available soon.

Here is my very quick summary:

  • Substitutions: Players leaving the field must leave at nearest boundary
    • Then walk around the field back to the technical area.
    • The player going onto the field still enters from the centre.
  • Yellow and red cards can be shown to coaches and managers.
    •  If you are shown a red card you must leave the field and take no further part in the game.
    • If the ref can’t work out who to blame, the senior coach is shown the card
  • Goal kicks/free kicks in own penalty area:  
    • Ball is in play when kicked, can be passed to a defender in the penalty area.  
    • No real change to U12 goal kicks (25m rule)
  • Dropped balls:
    • No longer competitive. 
    • Dropped to a player of the team which last had possession, or to goal keeper if it is in the penalty area.
    • Players of the other team must be 4m back.
  • Ball hitting referee:
    • If possession changed or a promising attack developed, then the ball is dropped for the team which previously had possession
  • Coin Toss: Team that wins the toss can pick to kick off or choose direction. 
  • Refs can delay showing a yellow/red card if is to the advantage of the other team.
  • Free kick – defensive walls.  Players from the attacking team must be at least 1m away from the wall.  Yellow card offence
  • Goal keeper during penalty – When the ball is kicked, the defending goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot touching, or in line with, the goal line. Yellow card offence 
  • Passback to goal keeper – if the keeper  clearly tried to play the ball away (e.g. kick, head or chest the ball), and fails to clear it, he can then pick it up.
  • Hand-ball.  Lots of reworking of the rules to make it clearer which (possibly accidental) hand-ball events are called.  
    • Apparently this reflects what the referees have been enforcing in past years, it make makes it clearer (in most cases) what is allowed and what is not.
    • All deliberate hand-balls are still not allowed.
    • Basically – keep your hands and arms close to your body.