Canada Soccer takes leadership role in IFAB Laws of the Game updates

Canada Soccer is leading the way in adopting international norms as well as continuing to develop professionals for international and domestic opportunities. With the release of […]

Canada Soccer is leading the way in adopting international norms as well as continuing to develop professionals for international and domestic opportunities.

With the release of the revisions to Laws of the Games for 2019/20 and Canada Soccer has secured permission from The IFAB to implement the revised Laws for the start of the 2019 Canada Soccer Canadian Championship and the 2019 Canadian Premier League.

Isaac Raymond, Canada Soccer Referee Manager, provides an insight on what this means, what fans can expect to see that is different, and how Canada Soccer’s National List of Referees and NextGen referees will apply the law amendments from the opening games of the CPL season.

“The purpose of the changes is to enhance the look of the game,” Raymond said. “The Laws had a comprehensive rewrite in 2016, and these latest changes build on them to further enhance the game.”

Continuing on from the 2019 National Referee Pre-season Camp these changes will be rolled out to the national program in preparation for the kick-off to the Canadian Premier League and Canadian Championship seasons. For Provincial and local leagues, the laws will come into effect at the start of the 2020 season.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What will happen when a substitute takes place?

Traditionally we have seen a player come over to the half way line and cross with an oncoming substitute. To stop a player who is being substituted from ‘wasting’ time by leaving slowly at the halfway line (which is not a Law requirement) the player must now leave the field at the nearest point unless the referee indicates otherwise.

What about cards to the occupants of the technical area?

Previously, when a member of the coaching staff behaves irresponsibly the referee has either warned or sent off from the offender and it was often not clear to spectators who has been warned. Now, the referee will show a yellow card to warn that person, or a red card to send them from the technical area. Where an offender cannot be identified the Head Coach or senior coach present will receive the sanction.

What now constitutes as a handball?

The law more clearly defines when an offence of handball is committed. For example, the law now clearly states that if a ball touches an arm when above the shoulder it is a handball offence.

What happens when the ball hits a referee?

If the referee gets in the way of the ball and creates an attack for the opposing team, the referee can now stop the play and restart with a dropped ball.

What is going to happen with attacking players who cause problems in the defensive ‘wall’?

If there are at least three defenders in the defensive wall then all attacking players cannot be within one metre of the wall. If a player is, after the free-kick has been taken then the play stops and the ball is awarded to the opposing team.

What goalkeeper Law changes were made?

For goal kicks or free kicks within a team’s own penalty area the ball is in play as soon as it is kicked and no longer has to leave the penalty area to be in play.

What is the dropped ball procedure?

The referee will drop the ball back to the last team who had possession when the play was stopped, eliminating contested dropped balls.

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