As we prepare to embark on the Vancouver Whitecaps 2020 Major League Soccer season, we felt it would be good to go over some of the rule changes you will see in matches. The International Football Association Board put into effect new laws ahead of last May’s U-20 World Cup. These laws were adopted in Europe ahead of the Fall 2019 season, and MLS is adopting them for the 2020 season.
A set of new laws agreed by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) went into effect in May at the U-20 World Cup, as well as other summer international tournaments, before the European calendar took them up in August and beyond. Ahead of their debut in MLS with the kickoff of the 2020 season next weekend, the league has had ample time to smoothly take on the changes.
One thing that won’t be adopted in MLS is the virtual line to rule on offsides. It has been a nightmare in Europe and has resulted in players being ruled offside because half a shoulder is ahead of the line.
What will be adopted though are a new handball law, substitution law, interference law, goal kicks law, and ‘wall’ law.
Let’s start with the handball law. There has been a bit of contention about this law as it will be applied differently depending on who is accused of a handball. First, if the ball makes contact with an attacking player’s hand/arm, regardless of intent, and it leads to a goal, it will be called back. However, for defensive players, the law remains. When a defensive player makes contact with their hand/arm, it will not be automatically penalized. The referee will have to determine whether the move was deliberate or created an unnatural barrier for the flight of the ball.
Next, in attempt to speed up the game when substitutions are made, players will be required to exit the field at the nearest touchline. This is a GREAT decision in my opinion.
There is also a new interference law, meaning that when the ref accidentally interferes with the play, the play will be blown dead and a drop ball will be given to the team previously in possession.
There are also two new dead ball laws. First, on goal kicks, players will be able to receive the ball, from the keeper, in the 18-yard box. Second, on free kicks, attacking team players will not be allowed within one yard of a defensive wall of three or more players. This second new law should prove beneficial as there is often a lot of pushing and shoving when free kicks are taken, and offensive player are trying to get in between the wall.
Those are the main new laws. Anything that stands out for you? Think this will make improvements to the game?