Football Rules: New refereeing directives, set to take effect at the onset of the upcoming football season.
Center around clamping down on time-wasting, dissent, and enforcing stricter monitoring of both the bench and technical areas. Anticipate prolonged added minutes towards the conclusion of EFL and Premier League matches, resembling the trend witnessed during the recent World Cup in Qatar.
Illustrating this shift, during Southampton’s 2-1 Championship victory over Sheffield Wednesday on Friday evening, six extra minutes were appended to the first half, followed by an additional nine minutes in the second half.
A match official has revealed to Sky Sports News that it will now be an exception if top-tier matches conclude in less than 100 minutes.
Concerns among officials have heightened due to statistics highlighting minimal ball-in-play time during professional matches in England. Averages from the previous season depicted a mere 48 minutes in League Two, 50 minutes in League One, 52 minutes in the Championship, and just under 55 minutes in the Premier League.
To address this, extended time allowances will be implemented, encompassing goal celebrations, which have grown longer and more elaborate. Referees will now be responsible for tracking the duration of game interruptions, such as goals, substitutions, injuries, and preparations for free-kicks.
In efforts to expedite gameplay, the EFL will adopt the multi-ball system across all matches, akin to the system already in place in the Premier League. Referees will also adopt a more stringent approach in penalizing actions that distinctly and significantly waste time, diverging from the straightforward act of kicking the ball away.
As a result of these changes, both EFL and Premier League football will bear resemblance to the Qatar World Cup, characterized by instances like the England vs Iran match, where 24 minutes of added time were recorded, leading to a total game duration of 117 minutes. Notably, this match saw two concussion-related injuries, eight goals, and 10 substitutions within the standard 90 minutes.
Leniency on “physical” challenges
On the field, in an endeavor to enhance the fluidity of the game and curtail interruptions, a more lenient criterion will be employed regarding player “contact.” This adjustment implies that fewer free-kicks will be granted for occurrences that, in the previous season, might have been sanctioned due to their perceived excessive physicality.
Nevertheless, in accordance with the established referee directives, any tackle categorized as “careless” will be categorized as a foul. Actions that are deemed “reckless” will result in a cautionary yellow card, while players who put the “safety” of an opponent in jeopardy will face a red card and be sent off from the field.
Policing the technical area
The conduct of managers and their support staff will be subject to heightened examination, resulting in an automatic issuance of a yellow card if more than one coach is present in the technical area. Moreover, stricter consequences will be imposed on managers who venture beyond their designated technical zone.
Instances of aggression displayed by coaches towards match officials or opponents will be met with a consistent red card penalty. Additionally, any club official who is expelled from the match will be prohibited from spectating the game from the stands. Instead, they must position themselves away from the field, completely out of sight.