Laws of the Game

As of Wednesday 1 June 2016, 95 changes to the Law of the Game have come into effect and The FA, alongside County FAs, wants to make these clear to all those involved in football.

The International Football Association Board created this list of changes earlier in 2016.

Many of the alterations are designed to make the language used much clearer – but, in addition to this, there are a number of key rule changes.

Below is a summary of the other things that will be different about football from 1 June. For more in-depth information, please download the documents at the bottom of this page.

Field of Play

Logos permitted on corner flags (previously banned).

Mix of artificial and natural surfaces allowed on field of play (previously banned).


If a substitute, sent-off player or match official interferes with play, causing the game to be stopped, it will result in a direct free-kick or penalty (previously indirect free-kick or drop-ball).

If a substitute, team official or outside agent stops a ball going into the goal, the referee can apply the advantage rule and award a goal.

Players' Equipment

Undershorts or tights worn by players must be the same colour as those worn by any team-mates, and must also match their shorts.

Players leaving the field of play to change boots can only be allowed back on by the referee.


Referees have the authority to take action from when they enter the field of play for the pre-match inspection, not from the start of the game.

This means players could be sent off for an offence committed while warming up. However, yellow cards can only be issued from the start of the match.

The Match Duration

Time taken for drinks breaks can officially be added on at the end of a game.

Start and Restart of Play

The ball no longer has to move forward at a kick-off, it just has to move for the game to start.

Referees should not 'manufacture' dropped ball situations – in terms of who takes them, or the outcome.

The Outcome of a Match

Deciding which end a penalty shootout should take place will be done by a coin-toss – subject to condition of the pitch or safety concerns. It is no longer the referee's decision.

A team with more players than the other when the shootout starts must reduce the number of takers so they have the same number of eligible players.

This will stop teams that have had a player sent off having their better penalty takers available sooner.


Hands and arms are not included when making an offside judgement.

Free-kicks for offside can be taken from where the offside player received the ball.

Fouls and Misconduct

When restarting games following offences against match official, direct free-kicks will now be awarded.

Free-kicks or penalties can only be awarded while the ball is in play.

Denying a clear goalscoring opportunity in the penalty area is no longer automatically a straight red card – unless the offence is holding, pulling or pushing; there's no attempt to play or no possibility of making a challenge; or it's an offence which is punishable by a red card, no matter where on the pitch it happens.

Violent conduct is punishable by a red card, even in instances where no contact is made.

Offences against match officials will result in a direct free-kick or penalty.


When fouls are committed off the pitch while the ball is in play, the match is to be restarted with a free-kick on the touchline nearest where the incident occurred.

Direct free-kicks will be awarded for direct free-kick offences and penalties could be awarded if the incident happens parallel to the penalty area.

Penalty Kicks

Players that feint to kick the ball after a run-up when taking a penalty will get booked for unsporting behaviour. However, feinting in the run-up is allowed.

Goalkeepers who come off their line too early will also be booked.


Opposing players who try to impede a throw-in will be cautioned, if they are standing less than two metres away.

Corner Kicks

The wording has been changed in the laws to say: "The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves." This is to stop players touching the ball and pretending the corner has not been taken, to then gain an advantage.

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