New for Fall 2020:
In an effort to reduce the number of hands touching the ball, for fall 2020 only there will be no throw-ins. All throw-ins will become indirect free kicks.
New for Fall 2019:
Dropped ball - Laws 8 & 9
Changes - If play is stopped inside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for the goalkeeper •If play is stopped outside the penalty area, the ball will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the point of the last touch. In all cases, all the other players (of both teams) must be at least 4m (4.5yds) away. If the ball touches the referee (or another match official) and goes into the goal, team possession changes or a promising attack starts, a dropped ball is awarded.
Explanation - The current dropped ball procedure often leads to a ‘manufactured’ restart which is ‘exploited’ unfairly (e.g. kicking the ball out for a throw-in deep in the opponents’ half) or an aggressive confrontation. Returning the ball to the team that last played it restores what was ‘lost’ when play was stopped, except in the penalty area where it is simpler to return the ball to the goalkeeper. To prevent that team gaining an unfair advantage, all players of both teams, except the player receiving the ball, must be at least 4m (4.5 yds) away. It can be very unfair if a team gains an advantage or scores a goal because the ball has hit a match official, especially the referee.
Free Kicks - Law 13
Changes - When there is a ‘wall’ of three or more defenders, the attackers are not allowed within 1m (1 yd) of the wall; an attacker less than 1m (1yd) from the ‘wall’ when the kick is taken will be penalized with an indirect free kick. When the defending team takes a free kick in their own penalty area, the ball is in play once the kick is taken; it does not have to leave the penalty area before it can be played.
Explanation - Attackers standing very close to, or in, the defensive ‘wall’ at a free kick often cause management problems and waste time. There is no legitimate tactical justification for attackers to be in the ‘wall’ and their presence is against the ‘spirit of the game’ and often damages the image of the game. The experiment where, at a defending team free kick in the penalty area, the ball is in play once it is kicked and does not have to leave the penalty area, has produced a faster and more constructive restart. Opponents must remain outside the penalty area and at least 9.15m away until the ball is in play. The same change has been made to the goal kick (see Law 16).
Goal Kick - Law 16
Changes -The ball is in play once the kick is taken; it can be played before leaving the penalty area.
Explanation - The experiment that at a goal kick the ball is in play once it is kicked, and does not have to leave the penalty area, has created a faster and more dynamic/constructive restart to the game. It has reduced the time ‘lost/wasted’ including stopping the tactic of ‘wasting’ time when a defender deliberately plays the ball before it leaves the penalty area knowing that all that will happen is the goal kick will be retaken. Opponents must remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in play.