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FIFA Laws of the Game Amendments 2012/13

  • 26/08/12
  • By HDFL Chairman
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Essex’s football clubs and referees need to make themselves aware of the amendments to FIFA’s laws of the game after the world’s governing body confirmed the alterations for 2012/13

Each year revisions are made to FIFA’s rules to make them more appropriate to the game after a year’s football has been played. For the new campaign there are changes to laws on advertising boards and ‘uncontested’ drop balls, although the point most relevant to football at the lower levels is the new requirement for tape and socks to be the same colour.

The FIFA directive states: “An increasing number of players are using excessive amounts of tape externally on their socks. This can be a multitude of colours and completely changes the look of the sock. This can cause confusion, particularly for assistant referees who may need to look at the sock to determine who last played the ball before it went out of play.”

Drop balls are mostly used to resume the game after a stoppage in play for an injury, but there have been a number of occasions where accidental goals have been scored when the uncontested ball has been returned to the goalkeeper from these, putting a great deal of pressure on the referee, who has to allow the goal to stand.

This results in the unseemly situation where the opposition allows the team to score from the kick-off without any players trying to stop them in order to rebalance the game. Now if the ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal a goal kick must be awarded. If it’s kicked directly into the team’s own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team.

Law 12, relating to ‘Fouls and Misconduct’ now has the word “blatant” removed from the element where a caution is required for unsporting behaviour when a player “deliberately handles the ball”, maybe to prevent an opponent gaining possession. FIFA believe it is more important to punish the consequence that the handball created rather than the fact that it was blatant. Furthermore, it is difficult to define what is meant by “blatantly”.

The changes in detail:

Law 1 - Field of Play: Advertising on the ground shall be at least 1m (1 yd) from the boundary lines of the field of play. Upright advertising shall be at least:
* 1m (1yd) from the touch lines of the field of play
* the same distance from the goal line as the depth of the goal net and
* 1m (1yd) from the goal net

Law 3 - Number of Players: If a named substitute enters the field of play instead of a named player at the start of the match and the referee is not informed of this change:
* the referee allows the named substitute to continue the match
* no disciplinary sanction is taken against the named substitute
* the number of permitted substitutes allowed by the offending team is not reduced
* the referee reports the incident to the appropriate authorities

Law 4 - Players’ Equipment: Stockings/Socks - if tape, or similar material, is applied externally it must be the same colour as that part of the stocking it is applied to.

Law 8 - Start and Restart of Play: If the ball enters the goal:
* if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponents’ goal, a goal kick is awarded
* if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the teams’ own goal, a corner kick is awarded to the opposing team

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct (removal of use of the word “blatant”): There are circumstances when a caution for unsporting behaviour is required when a player deliberately handles the ball, e.g. when a player: deliberately handles the ball to prevent an opponent gaining possession