As the new Premier League season really begins to gather steam, we take a look at the new laws that have been implemented by the F.A, but maybe not all 95 amendments. The key points are something that have been discussed by all media outlets and are causing some debate in the football world.
The first one is the change in the way players are punished for the way in which they treat the referee. We’ve all known for a while that players don’t really respect referees and like fans will take any opportunity to jump on the back of a bad decision, and not hold back in their criticism of the referee. Now if a player is deemed to “visibly disrespect” when he makes a decision, it will result in a yellow card. I have been a spectator of this rule being bought into play by Kevin Friend in the Middlesborough vs Stoke City game, when Marko Arnautovic threw his arms into the air despite having already got the free kick, a confusing one on his part, but it showed the referees are taking the new laws seriously.
Another one is what is deemed to be a penalty, perhaps the most controversial one of all. Having been discussed at length in the media, Mike Dean has caused controversy in what he deemed to be a penalty. Stoke City again are involved and it was in the televised game against Manchester City, when two penalties were awarded for an infringement by the defending team when defending a corner. Ryan Shawcross and Raheem Sterling were both penalised for some contact in the box, but then when the same incident if not worse was seen in the Spurs vs Liverpool match, referee Bobby Madley had a clear view and decided not to award a penalty for an infringement, which caused uproar not only in the media but on the touchline, when Jurgen Klopp made the point to the fourth official, that the same thing had happened in match-week two at the bet365 Stadium, if players are punished post match for something referees haven’t seen, then why aren’t referees punished for not awarding decisions, they’ve seen clearly and are a clear breach of the rules.
The final rule we’ll discuss is the treatment of injuries. Players now no longer have to “leave the field of play for treatment to an injury”. This is undoubtedly my least favourite of all the changes. For what reason do the paying fans have to watch a player be treated in the middle of the pitch if there is space on the touchline? I can understand head injuries or broken bones, but when a player goes down with an injury say just ten yards from the touchline, they can be treated their instead of walking, rolling or crawling to the touchline, which is beyond ridiculous. This just gives player another excuse to waste time, and when players feign injury, it will cause more problems than its worth and hopefully the F.A will see the error in their ways sooner rather than later on this one.
I do however think it’s good that the F.A are trying to improve fans enjoyment of the beautiful game, and hope that they view this season as a tester for any laws implicated and next season will see more consistent and concrete rules in place, maybe even a winter break?