The start of the 2017/18 Premier League season is here, with new players, new managers and new teams, but what about new rules?
The most notable change over the summer has been the introduction of a retrospective ban for diving, which could see players suspended for two matches if found guilty.
But what are the rules that are being introduced this season, ones that are under discussion and what should we expect from Premier League referees? With the help of Dermot Gallagher, we take a look…
Players who dive next season will face punishment. The Football Association passed a rule at their Annual General Meeting in May that will see two-match bans handed out for simulation.
The FA will also be able to rescind a yellow or red card given to the player who was deemed to have committed a foul, if the player was found guilty of diving. And players can be punished for “attempting to deceive the referee by feigning injury”.
Footage will be reviewed each Monday by a three-man panel, consisting of one ex-match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player. Each panel member reviews the footage independently of the other members.
The FA will then act if there is “clear and overwhelming evidence to suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation.” The panel must be unanimous in their decision and players can be banned for two matches if they are found guilty.
DERMOT SAYS: “I really like this idea. I think if someone dives and wins a penalty or manages to deceive the referee then on a Monday morning, he’s up before the panel of three and if they decide he has dived, he gets a two-match ban. I think it is a really great thing and it will act as a great deterrent. I don’t want to see players suspended for it and I think the fact it is there now will stop it in the first instance.”
Penalty shoot-outs are changing. Arsenal have already profited from the new ‘ABBA’ method as they beat Chelsea in the Community Shield.
While the traditional shoot-out sees Team A take a penalty, then Team B, then Team A, then Team B, and so on, the ‘ABBA’ shootout is like a tennis tie-break. Team A takes the first penalty then Team B takes two successive penalties, before Team A takes two successive penalties and so on.
The EFL will also be trialling the new ‘ABBA’ method in the Carabao Cup, Checkatrade Trophy and EFL play-offs. It was previously used at the U20 World Cup this summer and also the Premier League Asia Trophy, with Leicester beating West Brom in a lengthy shoot-out.
DERMOT SAYS: “It was felt that the team that went first had an advantage. I’m open-minded about it. It’s something different and something that the players took to in the Community Shield so let’s see what happened.”
Offsides and handballs
While there have not been any rule changes for offside and handball calls, there has been a focus for referees on the latter in particular after it cropped up on a number of occasions last season.
It will also be the second season that the newest addition to the offside laws will be implemented – where if a player makes an obvious action which clearly impacts on his opponent’s ability to play the ball, then he will be penalised as offside – which came into force at the start of the 2016/17 campaign.
DERMOT SAYS: “Handball was a burning issue last season. It’s a bit like last year but there will be a bit of tightening up. Let’s look at the speed that the ball travels. You’re looking for someone who puts his arm out, somebody who makes their body bigger or moves towards the ball to try and close it down. Also, if the ball travels a long way and you’ve got your arms out, it is going to be penalised. Things like that.
“Offside calls are pretty straight forward now. We saw last season that people took to the new rules, a few people queried it, but that is the nature of the beast. I think, by and large, offside calls worked much better. People accepted it more, the players understood that if they didn’t touch the ball then they weren’t interfering with play and if they didn’t impact on an opponent then that would be the case. So again, it is the same thing.”
Video assistant referee (VAR)
Although it is not a confirmed introduction, VAR is expected to be implemented in the Premier League at the start of the 2018/19 season with the FA keen to trial it from the third round of the FA Cup this term.
VAR has already been in action around the world, with the Confederations Cup and U20 World Cup using the technology over the summer as well as in the MLS and Australian A-League while the Bundesliga and Serie A have plans to implement it this season. The 2018 World Cup in Russia is also set to use VAR.
The technology involves an additional referee placed in a booth with access to every available camera angle. They will then be able to advise the referee of an error in the event of a game-changing situation including goals, penalties, straight red cards and mistaken identity in awarding a red or yellow card.
DERMOT SAYS: “Whether you like it or not, it is going to work in the Premier League. This is a big, big year from Friday night until we kick off next season, everything is going to be done to get it up and running so it can be rolled out next August but they have got to get it right. What they are going to do is look at everything, tweak everything so I’m not standing here next August saying ‘well they have to do this next week’. It’s going to be ‘that’s how it is’.”
It’s a sad moment for the creative groundsmen – especially at Leicester and Southampton – who have caught the eye with their decorative pitch designs over the last few seasons.
But Premier League Rules now state that the playing surface must contain no markings other than the traditional horizontal and white lines, following similar regulations implemented by UEFA in their competitions.
DERMOT SAYS: “Everybody has got to do the same so the real modern idea of doing something different like the Leicester and Southampton groundsmen, who are brilliant, can’t be done now. It has to be straight lines, unfortunately.”Euro Soccer Bonus
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