Here is a simplified version of this year’s key law changes to help you prepare for the new season.

Changes affecting more than one Law

Notes on the Laws of the Game (all Laws) – metric units

Clarification that, if there is any divergence between metric and imperial units, the metric units are authoritative

Laws 4, 5, 12 and VAR protocol – non-violent inappropriate behaviour

To allow some non-violent inappropriate behaviour to be considered ‘offensive, insulting or abusive’ and result in a sending-off, ‘action(s)/acting’ replace ‘gesture(s)/gesturing’ in the relevant descriptions

Laws 1, 2 and 4 – FIFA Quality Programme

Information about the FIFA Quality Programme is now included after the VAR protocol – details have been removed from the Law text

Individual Law changes (in Law order)

Law 1 – The Field of Play

The goalposts and crossbar (and goals) must be the same shape
The GLT signal can be sent to the video operation room (VOR)

Law 6 – The Other Match Officials

There is now a FIFA list of international video match officials (VMOs)

Law 7 – The Duration of the Match

Stoppage time relates to ‘lost’ playing time

Law 11 – Offside

Inclusion of the Law 12 definition of where the arm ends (bottom of the armpit) for the purposes of determining an offside/onside position

Changes to Law 11. Offside > 11.1. Offside position

Additional text :

The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered. For the purposes of determining offside, the upper boundary of the arm is in line with the bottom of the armpit.


The shoulder is not part of the arm for handball. It is therefore a part of the body with which a goal can be legitimately scored and so must be considered when judging offside.

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct

Not every contact of the ball with the hand/arm is an offence
A player’s hand/arm position should be judged in relation to their body movement in that particular situation
Removal from the accidental attacking handball offence of the references to a ‘team-mate’ and ‘creating a goal-scoring opportunity’

The offence of using a ‘trick’ to circumvent the Law against the goalkeeper handling the ball from a deliberate kick from a team-mate applies at goal kicks; the instigator is to be cautioned (YC)

A free kick/penalty kick can only be awarded for an offence against someone on the team lists or a match official

VAR protocol

Written permission to use VARs is only required from FIFA
Principles have been established covering scenarios when a video match official or replay operator is unable to start or continue a match