Four changes to Premier League rules this season, from offside to suppressing Emi Martinez antics - The Mirror

Four changes to Premier League rules this season, from offside to suppressing Emi Martinez antics – The Mirror

Five weeks today, newly promoted Burnley host champions Manchester City at Turf Moor and the final season of Premier League melodrama has begun.

But during the nine-month, 38-game campaign, there will be some subtle rule changes that players and fans alike will have to get used to.

Surprisingly, none of them elaborate on how video assistant referees will operate, despite this being the most controversial element of the game every weekend – reserve assistant referees are now allowed to contribute from their regular spot on the touchline.

Here’s the quartet of rule changes to keep your eyes peeled for…

Emi Martinez’s behavior during the World Cup prompted lawmakers to crack down on goalkeepers who behaved mischievously at a penalty kick.
(AFP via Getty Images)


The most important change as it will affect dozens of matches throughout the season – even if the actual role of the VAR remains unchanged.

The stilted Laws now dictate that “a player who is clearly offside may not go onside every time an opponent moves and touches the ball.”

That change was implemented last summer, but has only now been incorporated into the law.

And in essence, it should clarify whether a defender played the ball intentionally or whether the ball bounced off him – although the wording remains so vague that it is open to different interpretations by different match officials.

Still, it’s at least not as drastic as Arsene Wenger’s proposal to use an attacker’s full body to determine whether they’re onside or not.

Unsportsmanlike conduct

Starting in August, players can avoid being carded for unsportsmanlike conduct if the referee is confident they made a deliberate attempt to win the ball with a tackle.

Exactly what that means is a bit of a gray area, but in theory, if player X gets a penalty for refusing a goal-scoring opportunity, he won’t get a red card if the match officials think he was trying to play the ball.

Manchester United's Casemiro reacts after a red card from Anthony Taylor.

Manchester United’s Casemiro reacts after a red card from Anthony Taylor.
(Getty Images)

Keepers jeepers

This is a real buzz killer. No more mind games for the men between the posts when it comes to a penalty shootout, as the rules now state that they “must not behave in a manner that unfairly distracts the kicker… [and] shows no respect for the game and the opponent.”

That includes attempts to “delay taking the kick or touching the goalposts, crossbar or goal net”.

At the same time, it will be funny to see a goalkeeper called up for antics. And Emi Martinez, the man many believe forced the fight because of his work at last year’s World Cup, must be the heavy favorite to be the first culprit.

Goal celebrations

And finally, a tweak we should all get behind. Referees will call extra time to make up for lost playing time by teams in no hurry to stop celebrating a goal.

There will be an element of discretion at play, but it is part of a wider limitation of time wasting.

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