New Premier League rule and VAR changes expected to be implemented next season


It has now been a month since a ball was last kicked in the Premier League and we do not expect it to be kicked again soon due to the coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday, the 2019/20 Premier League campaign was suspended for an indefinite period, with the governing body confirming that the matches would not resume until it is “sure to do so”.

And although it may take some time before the campaign restarts, especially with health experts warning that the worst of the virus has yet to hit the UK.

The start of next season is also expected to be delayed, but that hasn’t stopped the International Football Association Board (IFAB) from announcing changes to the Laws of the Game for the 2020/21 season.

And below is an overview of some of the main changes announced on Wednesday evening.


Beginning with video assistant referees, otherwise known as VAR, the new game laws show that the word “often” in connection with a “field test” – the match referee using the field side monitor – has been removed from the laws of next season.

In addition, there is also what appears to be a clear reference to the Premier League in the circular of changes to governing bodies around the world in the new game laws.

“The recent communication from these competition organizers has signaled a positive change towards universal application of the protocol from next season,” said the document.

Which, in normal language, means that the Premier League referees will regularly use monitors at the field next season, in particular to review an incident deemed “subjective”.

A screen inside the stadium tells fans that a VAR check is underway before Liverpool's first goal is awarded in the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers
A screen inside the stadium tells fans that a VAR check is underway before Liverpool’s first goal is awarded in the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers

But in a new move that won’t appeal to fans, the IFAB refused to give supporters the opportunity to hear conversations between match officials during a VAR review.

Premier League fans hoped that football would follow in the footsteps of rugby and cricket and allow fans to hear what was said.


For the first time in the Laws of the Game, the arm is defined for handball, with officials having previously defined the use of the entire arm as handball.

While attacking handball has also been clarified by the IFAB. Although it is not changed, it means that a goal-related handball must be one of the following three:

– Handball then a goal

– Handball followed by a pass and then a goal

– Handball which then falls on a teammate who passes the ball, which then gives a goal

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Penalty kick

Starting next season, a goalkeeper leaving his line before a kick is taken will only be punished if the penalty is saved by the goalkeeper.

If the penalty is missed, wide, off the post or the bar, or overturned, the kick will not be resumed regardless of the goalkeeper’s movement.

The malicious intrusion of the two groups of players, regardless of the outcome, will result in sanction.

If an attacking player encroaches on the attacking player and the penalizing player misses the target, an indirect free kick will be awarded to the defense.


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