After a fantastic football season that saw several historic moments like Lionel Messi lifting the World Cup, Manchester City winning the treble, Barcelona using their economic levers to sign world-class players, and Napoli winning their first Serie A title in over 30 years, the football season is now just ten days away from a new one.
However, like every other season, there are a host of changes that will come in the new season, and this time, it is the English Premier League that has gone all out, bringing in several rules to improve the game both on and off the pitch.
While some of these rules were already in use during the World Cup, others came due to some questionable moments in previous seasons. The Premier League has argued that implementing these rules was necessary to ensure that the game keeps up with the new challenges.
Last year the officials in the league noticed a disturbing pattern of too much time being wasted in a game. According to statistics, the average time the ball was in lay for a match was only 54 minutes. This means that almost 50 per cent of the added injury time was lost to time wasting.
So, in order to curb this, referees from the 2023-24 season will be allowed to add time lost due to activities such as goal celebrations, free kicks, throw-ins, and other activities that the referees deem to be an act by a team to waste time.
After implementing this rule at the World Cup in Qatar, the game usually saw second-half injury time over 10 minutes regularly, which surely will be the case in this Premier League season as well.
One of the rules that undergoes a tweak or two occasionally is the offside law, and this season has been no different. According to the newest interpretation of the law, the FA has tried to make an interpretation in what is deemed to be ‘deliberate play’ and ‘deflection’.
According to the new rules ‘
Deliberate play is when a player has control of the ball with the possibility of:
- passing the ball to a team-mate
- gaining possession of the ball
- clearing the ball (e.g. by kicking or heading it)
The FA also outlined the criteria for ‘deliberate play’ in the newly released document. These criteria are as follows:
- The ball travelled from a distance, and the player had a clear view of it.
- The ball was not moving quickly.
- The direction of the ball was not unexpected.
- The player had time to coordinate their body movement, i.e. it was not a case of instinctive stretching or jumping or a movement that achieved limited contact/control.
- A ball moving on the ground is easier to play than a ball in the air.
Technical area regulations
The Premier League regularly sees clashes between managers with the game officials. In fact, Howard Webb, chief refereeing officer of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, had highlighted the fact that officials were on the end of some heavy and inappropriate behaviour, including foul language in the league.
To counter this, the Premier League brought a new charter according to which one person from a team will be allowed to stand at the front of the technical area and coach during the match. A second person will also be allowed, but he must be near the technical area sitting. In addition, teams will not be allowed to use technology to challenge any decision made by the match officials.
Shouting offensive chants
One of the major areas of concern in the Premier League is the use of offensive slogans. The situation became so grave that before Liverpool’s game against Manchester United, the managers of both teams issued a joint statement urging fans not to bring up tragedies involving the club, such as the Munich Air Disaster and the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster.
Under the new rules, the league will take legal actions against the perpetrators along with other forms of punishments, such as stadium bans and suspension of club membership.