Laws of the Game & FA Rules

2021/22 law changes explained

2021/22 law changes explained

Here is a simplified version of this year’s key law changes to help prepare clubs, managers, players, referees and spectators 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

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct

  • Handball:
    • 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 
  • 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

Please click here to view an IFAB Presentation with video examples explaining the new changes or download the resources below