Which rules are set to change ahead of the 21/22 season?

The Premier League are introducing several new rule changes for the 2021/22 season – including the way that VAR is used in certain situations.

VAR has created controversy since it was introduced to the top flight of English football for the 2018/19 season.

One of the main criticism is with the margin of error involved in offside decisions.

Tight offside decisions are generally judged via automated coloured lines – one for the defender and one for the attacker.

That creates offsides that are decided by the tightest of margins – not visible to the naked eye.

Harry Kane told The Overlap with Gary Neville that he would like to see the benefit of the doubt given to attackers.

And the Premier League are set to implement changes to the VAR system, including the userof ‘thicker lines’.

Let’s take a look at all the rule changes for the 2021/22 season across English football:

VAR & offside changes

One of the major changes to the rules, as alluded to above, is the use of ‘thicker lines’ in VAR decisions.

This should rule out the ‘toe/armpit offsides’ that we have seen in the last few seasons.

The change was agreed in June, and will be implemented for the 2021/22 season.

In addition, FIFA have announced that the bottom of the armpit is now the body part from which offsides will be judged.

Last season, the position of the hands or arms of all players were not considered in determining offside positions.

Handball change

The handball law hit the headlines last season after a penalty was controversially given against Eric Dier during Tottenham‘s draw with Newcastle in September.

He jumped with Andy Carroll for a late free kick, which Carroll won. His header hit Dier’s outstretched arm.

However, Dier was in the process of jumping and many deemed the movement of his arms to be natural in maintaining balance.

However, the rules last season stated that if the hand/arm has made a player’s body unnaturally bigger, they will be deemed to have handled the ball.

The updated law for this season states: “It is a handball offence if… a player touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger.

“A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation.

“By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and being penalised.”

Another change is the revision to the accidental handball law.

The law states: “Accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence.”

Substitution rule changed

Finally, the EFL have decided to revert back to allowing three substitutions per match.

Last season, the law was changed to allow for each EFL team to make five substitutions in three allotted intervals (excluding half-time).

That change was initially brought in when English football resumed in June 2020 following its suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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