It is now a month since a ball was last kicked by Stoke City and we are not expecting one to be kicked again anytime soon.
The 2019/20 Championship campaign has been suspended indefinitely, with the governing body confirming that fixtures would only resume when it is “safe to do so.”
The start to next season is also set to be delayed, but that hasn’t stopped the International Football Association Board (the IFAB) from announcing changes to the Laws of the Game for the 2020/21 season.
And here are some of the main changes which have been announced this week.
This is an area where Stoke will have felt particularly judged over the years.
And now the IFAB has changed their glossary to confirm the definition of ‘holding’.
It now reads: “A holding offence occurs only when a player’s contact with an opponent’s body or equipment impedes the opponent’s movement.”
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Just where handball stops and the shoulder begins has been clarified for the first time.
The IFAB state: “The boundary between the shoulder and the arm is defined as the bottom of the armpit.”
Here’s a helpful diagram from the board.
An ‘accidental’ handball by an attacking player is only penalised if it occurs ‘immediately’ before a goal or clear goal-scoring opportunity
Fouls and misconduct
A goalkeeper can now receive a yellow card or be sent off for touching the ball a second time after a restart, such as a goal kick or free-kick.
Any offence – not only a foul – which ‘interferes with or stops a promising attack’ should result in an yellow card but…
If the referee plays advantage or allows a ‘quick’ free kick for an offence which ‘interfered with or stopped a promising attack’, the yellow card is not issued.
A player who doesn’t retreat four metres at a dropped ball should receive a yellow card.
If a penalty is scored but an attacking player is guilty of encroachment, the penalty is re-taken. If the penalty is missed, the defending team is awarded an indirect free-kick.
If a penalty is scored but a defending player is guilty of encroachment, the goal counts. If the penalty is missed, the penalty is re-taken.
If there is encroachment by both defending and attacking players, the penalty is re-taken.
If there is an offence by the goalkeeper and the penalty is scored, the goal counts. If the penalty is not saved, the penalty is not re-taken… unless the kicker is impacted by the goalkeeper’s offence. It will be re-taken if the penalty is saved.
If a penalty is kicked backwards, the defending team gets an in-direct free-kick and the kicker is booked.
If the penalty taker does an illegal feint, they are booked and the defending team is awarded an indirect free-kick.
“Recent communication from these competition organisers signalled a positive shift towards the universal application of the protocol from next season,” it says in the document.
Which, in normal language, means Premier League referees will be using the pitch-side monitors on a much regular basis next season, especially to review an incident which is deemed “subjective”.
But in a new move that won’t please fans, the IFAB has rejected providing supporters with the chance of hearing the conversations between matches officials during a VAR review.
Fans in the Premier League had hoped that the football would follow in the footsteps of rugby and cricket and allow supporters the chance to hear what is being said.