Law changes 21/22

Full presentation


Changes Affecting Multiple Laws

Metric Units – Notes on the Laws of the Game (all Laws)

  • Clarification that, if there is any divergence between metric and imperial units, the metric units are authorative

Non-violent inappropriate behaviour - Laws 4, 5, 12 and VAR protocol

  • To allow some forms of non-violent inappropriate behaviour (e.g. offensively touching another person) to be considered ‘offensive, insulting or abusive’ and thus a sending-off offence, ‘action(s)/acting’ replace ‘gesture(s)/gesturing’ in the relevant descriptions

FIFA Quality Programme - Laws 1, 2 and 4

  • Information about the FIFA Quality Programme is now included after the VAR protocol - details have been removed from the Law text

Individual Law changes

Law 1. The Field of Play

  • The goalposts and crossbar (and goals) must be the same shape
  • The GLT signal can be sent to the video operation room (VOR)

Law 6. The Other Match Officials

  • There is now a FIFA list of international video match officials (VMOs)

Law 7. The Duration of the Match

  • Stoppage time relates to ‘lost’ playing time 

Law 11. Offside

  • Inclusion of the Law 12 definition of where the arm ends (bottom of the armpit) for the purposes of determining an offside/onside position

Law 12. Fouls and Misconduct

  • Handball:
    • Not every contact of the ball with the hand/arm is an offence
    • A player’s hand/arm position should be judged in relation to their body movement in that particular situation
    • Removal from the accidental attacking handball offence of the references to a ‘team-mate’ and ‘creating a goal-scoring opportunity’
  • The offence of using a ‘trick’ to circumvent the Law against the goalkeeper handling the ball from a deliberate kick from a team-mate applies at goal kicks; the instigator is to be cautioned (YC)
  • A free kick/penalty kick can only be awarded for an offence against someone on the team lists or a match official

Video assistant referee (VAR) protocol

  • Written permission to use VARs is only required from FIFA
  • Principles have been established covering scenarios when a video match official or replay operator is unable to start or continue a match


  • Offensive, insulting or abusive language/action(s)
  • 'Video' match officials (VMOs)