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2020/21 Law Changes Explained- EPL

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.

Law 1 – The Field of Play

Goalposts and the crossbar may be a combination of the four basic shapes

Law 10 – Determining the Outcome of a Match.

Yellow cards (YCs) and warnings are not carried forward into kicks from the penalty mark (KFPM).

See also changes to Law 14 relating to KFPM.

Law 11 – Offside

Deliberate handball by a defending player is considered ‘deliberate play’ for offside

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct.


the boundary between the shoulder and the arm is defined as the bottom of the armpit.

‘accidental’ handball by an attacking player (or team-mate) is only penalised if it occurs ‘immediately’ before a goal or clear goal-scoring opportunity.

A goalkeeper can receive a YC or be sent off (RC) for ‘illegally’ touching the ball a second time after a restart (e.g. goal kick, free kick etc.) even if the touch is with the hand/arm

Any offence (not only a foul) which ‘interferes with or stops a promising attack’ should result in a YC.

A player who fails to respect the 4m required distance at a dropped ball should receive a YC.

If the referee plays advantage or allows a ‘quick’ free kick for an offence which ‘interfered with or stopped a promising attack’, the YC is not issued

Law 14 – The Penalty Kick

An offence by the goalkeeper is not penalised if a penalty kick misses the goal or rebounds from the goal (without a touch from the goalkeeper) unless the offence clearly affected the kicker.

The goalkeeper is warned for the first offence; it is a YC for any further offence(s)

The kicker is penalised if the goalkeeper and the kicker offend at exactly the same time.

VAR Protocol

Only one ‘TV signal’ is required for a VAR-only review.


A definition of the offence of holding has been included.

A player’s position at a restart is the position of the feet or any part of the body which is touching the ground (except as outlined in Law 11 – Offside)

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