No more accidental handball goals, nearest touchline substitutions among new football rules

The International Football Association Board will implement rule changes in football that will kick in from the 2019-20 season.

Aguero handball goal Arsenal

Manchester City striker Aguero's third goal against Arsenal was deflected in off his hand in their Premier League match last month.   -  REUTERS

Starting from June 1, in case a ball touches a player’s hand and crosses the goal line, the goal will be cancelled and handball will be decided as an infringement even if it is unintentional. This is among the rule changes in football that will kick in from the 2019-20 season.

The decision was the International Football Association Board (IFAB) was implemented at its 133rd Annual General Meeting (AGM).

When a substitution is made in a football match, the player will leave the field from his nearest touch line instead of touching the centre circle — so as to avoid wastage of time.

Misconduct by team officials will also now invite red and yellow cards for misconduct.

The meeting was chaired by the President of the Scottish Football Association (SFA), Alan McRae, and was attended by representatives from FIFA and the football associations of England, Wales and Northern Ireland on March 2.

Substitutions can now happen at the nearest touchline.   -  GETTY IMAGES


Leaving the field from the nearest touch line will reduce waste of time. In some occasions, it has been noticed that the winning team coach changed a player at the fag end of a match just to waste time.

Some other changes made are: No attacking team players can stand on the wall of the defending team when a free kick is taken; allowing a dropped ball in certain situations when the ball hits the referee and the goalkeeper is required to have one foot on the goal line during a penalty kick.

At the time of goal kick or free kick inside the penalty box, other players can touch the ball inside the box.