After a turbulent 2019/20 campaign, which was heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Premier League bosses have today set out plans ahead of the start of next season, which is poised to get underway on the weekend of September 12.
Whilst a whole host of topics were discussed at the meeting, shareholders agreed to rule changes concerning both VAR and the number of substitutions managers are allowed to make during matches.
Following the coronavirus shutdown, Premier League managers were allowed to make up to and including five substitutions per game, with them able to name nine players on their respective benches.
Now, though, managers will revert back to being able to make three changes during a game and naming seven substitutes in their match-day squads.
As for VAR, a Referee Review Area has been introduced, which will see an increased use of the area, which will be used for subjective decisions, such as for goals, red cards and penalties.
When it comes to marginal offside offences, linesmen will be pushed to keep their flag down when a goal-scoring opportunity is likely to occur. The assistant referee will hold their flag until that particular passage of play is complete.
Once the goal scoring opportunity is complete, whether a goal is scored or the chance is wasted, the linesman will then raise the flag to indicate the initial offence. If a goal is scored the VAR will then review the offside judgement.
Changes to penalties and the way goalkeepers behave during a penalty scenario are also set to be introduced.
The new rules will not allow a goalkeeper to save a penalty with his foot over the goal-line. Should that situation occur, VAR will advise the spot-kick to be retaken. Should the goalkeeper be off his line and the ball strikes the post or misses the target completely, the penalty will not be retaken unless the goalkeeper has a direct impact in the kick being missed.
As for players encroaching the penalty area whilst the attacker is stepping up to take a penalty, it is now judged that if any part of a player’s body that is on the ground when the kick is taken, it will be classed as encroachment. For example, if a player’s foot is on the line of the penalty area or the arc line it is classed as encroachment.
The player, though, must have a direct impact on the outcome of the penalty itself.