PANJIM: The lnternational Football Association Board (IFAB) has approved a number of changes to the Laws of the Game (football) which follow the 'play fair' strategy: improving player behaviour and increasing respect, increasing playing time and making the game fairer and attractive. These changes will be implemented from the new season which starts in July stated the Goa Football Association (GFA).
Jose Santarita Coelho (Babush), chairman of GFA Referees and Assistant Referees Committee stated the changes will be made compulsory for friendly matches as well as competitions starting from July.
The changes are the result of two years of experiments with law changes which have the potential to improve the image of the game and/or reduce the time lost for substitutions and goal kicks.
Maurice Almeida and Frankie Fernandes, deputy chairmen of GFA's Referees and Assistant Referees Committee elaborated on the changes and pointed out that a player who is being substituted must leave the field by the nearest point on the touchline/goal-line (unless the referee indicates the player can leave quickly/immediately at the halfway line or a different point because of safety, injury etc.)
(Law 3) A team official guilty of misconduct will be shown a yellow card (caution) or red card (sending-off); if the offender cannot be identified, the senior coach who is in the technical area at the time will receive one of the cards.
(Laws 5 and 12) for free -kicks to the defending team in their own penalty area and for goal kicks, the ball will be in play once the kick as soon as it is kicked and moves; the requirement that it must leave the penalty area before any player can touch it has been removed.
(Law 13 and Law 16)There is a new procedure for the start and restart of play (the dropped ball) as the dropped ball will be uncontested - the ball will be dropped for only one player and all other players must remain at least 4 metres away.
Play will then continue as normal i.e. the ball is not given to the opponents. If play was stopped when the ball or the last touch of the ball was in the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the defending team goalkeeper. In all other cases, the ball will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the place where it was last touched.
The law on handling the ball (Law 12) states that a player will be penalized when the ball touches their hand or arm if: their hand/arm is above shoulder height (except when deliberately playing the ball) as a player is taking a risk by having their hand/arm in that usually unnatural position; the player’s body has been made unnaturally bigger, and has thus unfairly created a larger barrier, by the hand/arm being away from their body; a goal is scored directly from their hand/arm even if accidental; a player gains possession/control of the ball from their hand/arm, even if accidental, and then scores a goal or creates a goal-scoring opportunity.
However, except in the situations outlined above, a player will not usually be penalised when the ball touches their hand/arm if: the ball came off the player’s own body, or the body of another player of either team who was close by, as it is almost impossible to avoid contact with the ball and a player falls down and their hand/arm is between their body and ground for support.
Frankie also disclosed that the GFA will conduct seminars on the changes for referees and assistant referees, match commissioners, referee assessors, managers/coaches of all affiliated clubs, the attendance for which will be compulsory.
He stated that it is against the law of ethic for match officials to comment on referee’s decision on the field of play and such violations could attract disciplinary action as per the code of conduct.