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2021-2022 LoTG Updates

No major changes last year (2020/21) or this year (2021/22)

  • Mostly clarifications or consistency updates
  • More clarifications to Handball
  • Law 1: The Field of Play
    • The goalposts and crossbar (and goals) must be the same shape and both goals must be the same

  • Law 2: The Ball
    • Replacement of a defective ball during play: Play is stopped and restarted with a dropped ball

  • Law 7: The Duration of the Match
    • Stoppage time relates to “lost” playing time (21/22).
    • We usually cannot add stoppage time in AYSO matches due to back-to-back matches

  • Law 10: Determining the Outcome of a Match
    • Kicks from the penalty mark (KFPTM) are taken after the match has ended and unless stated, the relevant Laws of the Game apply.  A player who has been sent off during the match is not permitted to take part; warnings and cautions issued during the match are not carried forward into kicks from the penalty mark.
    • During kicks from the penalty mark:
      • If the goalkeeper commits an offence and, as a result, the kick is retaken, the goalkeeper is warned for the first offence and cautioned for any subsequent offence(s)
      • If both the goalkeeper and the kicker commit an offence at the same time, the kick is recorded as missed and the kicker is cautioned.
      • Please remember we are dealing with youth players and apply any discipline accordingly

  • Law 11: Offside
    • Provides clarification when "deliberate handball" is also a "deliberate play"
    • Use Law 12 definition where the arm ends at the bottom of the armpit when judging offside position (21/22)
    • A “deliberate handball” is considered to be a “deliberate play” when judging a potential offside offence

  • Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct 
    • For the purposes of determining handball offences, the upper boundary of the arm is in line with the bottom of the armpit
    • It is a handball offence if a player:
      • Deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, for example moving the hand/arm towards the ball;
      • Touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger. A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation. By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and penalized; or
      • Scores in the opponent’s goal:
        • Directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper; or
        • Immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental.
      • Accidental handball that leads to a teammate scoring a goal or having a goal scoring opportunity will NO LONGER be considered an offence
    • “Illegal” 2nd Touch by GK
      • Specifies sanction on GK when “illegal” 2nd touch stops a promising attack:
    • No “Delayed” Caution after Quick FK
      • Clarifies sanction on quick free kick after DOGSO/SPA offence
    • No “Delayed” Caution after Advantage
    • FRRD Caution for Dropped Bal
      • Failure to respect the required distance when play restarted by a DB is now a YC
    • Caution for USB
      • Clarifies that USB caution may be for an offence that is not a foul
    • Indirect Free Kicks
      • An indirect free kick is awarded if a player...
        • Initiates a deliberate trick for the ball to be passed (including from a free kick or a goal kick) to the goalkeeper with the head, chest, knee, etc. to circumvent the Law, whether or not the goalkeeper touches the ball with the hands; the goalkeeper is penalized if responsible for initiating the deliberate trick.
    • Direct and Indirect Free Kicks
      • Clarifies that a free kick/penalty kick can only be awarded for an offence committed against someone on the team lists or match official

  • Law 14: The Penalty Kick
    • Clarifies sanctions if GK commits an offence during PK:
      • the goalkeeper offends:
        • if the ball enters the goal, a goal is awarded
        • if the ball misses the goal or rebounds from the crossbar or goalpost(s), the kick is only retaken if the goalkeeper's offence clearly impacted on the kicker
        • if the ball is prevented from entering the goal by the goalkeeper; the kick is retaken.
      • If the goalkeeper's offence results in the kick being retaken, the goalkeeper is warned for the first offence in the game and cautioned for any subsequent offence(s) in the game.
      • Both Kicker and GK Commit Offences
        • Clarifies sanction when both kicker and GK commit offences at same time:
        • both the goalkeeper and the kicker commit an offence at the same time, the kicker is cautioned and play restarts with an indirect free kick to the defending team.
        • IFAB rationale is that this is a rare event and usually caused by “illegal” feinting by the kicker

  • Holding offence
    •  A holding offence occurs only when a player's contact with an opponent's body or equipment impedes the opponent's movement.
    • IFAB: Football does not expect “minor” holding to be penalized.

2020 Laws of the Game Update

FIFA Laws of the Game - Changes for 2020-2021 Season

Outline Summary of Law Changes

Law 1 - The Field of Play

  • Goalposts and the crossbar may be a combination of the four basic shapes
    • Minimal Effect on our games
    • All of our goals are of the prescribed shapes (Square, Round, Rectangular, Oval)

Law 10 - Determining the Outcome of a Match

  • Yellow cards (YCs) and warnings are not carried forward into kicks from the penalty mark (KFPM)
    • Minor Effect on our games
    • AYSO rarely plays matches that are carried forward to KFTM
    • Most likely scenario would be at Area or Section tournaments
    • Players who are involved in KFTM have any cautions levied upon them during the match cleared off as KFTM begin; a sent off player may not participate in KFTM
    • Example: Red Keeper receives a Caution during the match for coming off the Goal Line during the match; If the Keeper comes off the Goal Line during KFTM, first offense is a verbal Caution and second offense would bring a Caution. The Keeper will not be sent off for second Caution of the Match as the first Caution is erased at the beginning of KFTM

Law 11 - Offside

  • Deliberate handball by a defending player is considered deliberate play' for offside

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

  • Handball, accidental handball, and goalkeeper receiving sanctions for second illegal touch
    • Medium effect to our games
    • Handball: the boundary between the shoulder and the arm is defined as the bottom of the armpit
      • This clarifies the boundary where the “hand” is ruled to be
    • ‘accidental’ handball by an attacking player (or team-mate) is only penalized if it occurs ‘immediately’ before a goal or clear goal-scoring opportunity
      • As referee you must determine if the touch was accidental or not based upon the speed of the ball, position of the arms in relation to the body and position on the field
  • Stopping a promising attack, distance for dropped ball, and quick restart sanctions or lack thereof
    • A goalkeeper can receive a YC or be sent off (RC) for ‘illegally’ touching the ball a second time after a restart (e.g. goal kick, free kick etc.) even if the touch is with the hand/arm
      • Tricky situation here; goal kick is muffed and the keeper slaps or kicks the ball to a teammate to keep the opposition from gaining control of the ball and take a shot
    • A player who fails to respect the 4m required distance at a dropped ball should receive a YC
    • Any offence (not only a foul) which ‘interferes with or stops a promising attack’ should result in a YC
      • Assumes no quick restart here
    • If the referee plays advantage or allows a ‘quick’ free kick for an offence which ‘interfered with or stopped a promising attack’, the YC is not issued
      • This is a change from previous years we will have to enforce by NOT giving that card if you played “advantage”

Law 14 - The Penalty Kick

  • Clarifications of sanctions
    • An offence by the goalkeeper is not penalized if a penalty kick misses the goal or rebounds from the goal (without a touch from the goalkeeper) unless the offence clearly affected the kicker
    • The goalkeeper is warned for the first offence; it is a YC for any further offence(s)
    • The kicker is penalized if the goalkeeper and the kicker offend at exactly the same time

VAR Protocol

  • Only one "TV signal" is required for a VAR only review


  • A definition of the offence of holding has been included
  • Clarification on a player's position at a restart
  • Clarification of a goal kick or free kick in the Penalty Area

2019 Law Changes Announcement from IFAB

NOTE: All changes come into force on June 1, 2019.

IFAB Laws of the Game 2019/2020 Summary of Main Changes

Law 3 - The Number of Players

  • A player who is being substituted must leave the field at the nearest point on the boundary line, unless otherwise directed by the referee

Law 4 - The Players Equipment

  • Undershirts can be multi-coloured/patterned if exactly the same as the sleeve of the main shirt

Law 5 - The Referee

  • Referee cannot change a restart decision after play has restarted but, in certain circumstances, may issue a YC/RC for a previous incident
  • If the referee leaves the field for a VAR review or to call players back to the field at the end of a half, a decision can still be changed
  • Team officials guilty of misconduct can be shown a YC/RC; if an offender cannot be identified, the senior coach in the technical area receives the YC/RC
  • If a penalty kick is awarded, the team’s penalty taker can receive assessment or treatment and then stay on the field and take the kick

Law 7 - The Duration of the Match

  • Clarification of the difference between ‘cooling’ and ‘drinks’ breaks

Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play

  • The team that wins the toss may choose to take the kick-off
  • Dropped ball – ball dropped for goalkeeper (if play stopped in penalty area) or for one player of team that last touched the ball at the location of the last touch; all other players (of both teams) must be at least 4m (4.5 yds) away

Law 9 - The Ball In and Out of Play

  • Dropped ball if the ball touches the referee (or other match official) and goes into the goal, possession changes or an attacking move starts

Law 10 - The Method of Scoring

  • Goalkeeper cannot score by throwing the ball into the opponents’ goal

Law 12 - Fouls & Misconduct

  • Handball text re-written for greater clarity/consistency with clear guidelines for when ‘non-deliberate’ handball should (and should not) be penalized
  • Confirmation that an ‘illegal’ handball offence by a goalkeeper in their own penalty area is not sanctioned with a YC/RC
  • If, after a throw-in or deliberate pass from a team-mate, the goalkeeper unsuccessfully kicks or tries to kick the ball to release it into play, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball
  • Referee can delay issuing a YC/RC until the next stoppage if the non-offending team takes a quick free kick and creates a goal-scoring opportunity
  • The YC for an ‘illegal’ goal celebration remains even if the goal is disallowed
  • List of the warning/YC/RC offences for team officials

All verbal offences are punished with an IDFK

  • Kicking an object is punished in the same way as throwing an object

Law 13 - Free Kicks

  • Once an IDFK has been taken, the referee can stop showing the IDFK signal if it is clear that goal cannot be scored directly (e.g. from most offside IDFKs)
  • For defending team free kicks in their penalty area, the ball is in play once it is kicked and clearly moves; it does not have to leave the penalty area
  • When there is a defensive ‘wall’ of at least 3 players, all attacking team players must be at least 1m from the ‘wall’; IDFK if they encroach

Law 14 - The Penalty Kick

  • Goalposts, crossbar and nets must not be moving when a penalty is taken and the goalkeeper must not be touching them
  • Goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot on, or in line with, the goal line when a penalty kick is taken; cannot stand behind the line
  • If an offence occurs after the referee signals for a penalty kick to be taken but the kick is not taken, it must then be taken after any YC/RC is issued

Law 15 - The Throw-In

  • Opponents must be at least 2m from the point on the touchline where a throw-in is to be taken, even if the thrower is back from the line

Law 16 - The Goal Kick

  • At goal kicks, the ball is in play once it is kicked and clearly moves; it does not have to leave the penalty area

FIFA/AYSO 2018/2019 Law Changes

Laws of the Game Changes 2018/2019


  • Player who has left the field because of an equipment issue and returns without permission and interferes with play is penalized with a direct free kick (or penalty kick)


  • Match officials are not permitted to wear cameras


  • Kicks from the penalty mark – a replacement for a goalkeeper cannot take a kick in that ‘round’ if the goalkeeper has already taken a kick
  • Biting is included as a direct free kick and sending-off offence
  • Throwing an object at the ball or hitting the ball with a held object are separate direct free kick offences (not a form of handball)
  • If the ball rebounds from the goalkeeper this does not prevent the goalkeeper handling the ball a second time even if the first attempt to catch/holds the ball was deliberate
  • If the referee plays advantage for a DOGSO the offender is cautioned (YC) whether or not a goal is scored
  • Excessively showing the TV signal is a caution (YC)
  • Where 2 separate cautionable (YC) offences are committed in close proximity, both cautions (YCs) must be issued; same principle if one is a sending off offence
  • If a player commits an offence outside the field of play (ball in play) against someone from their own team (including a team official) it is an indirect free kick on the boundary line


  • Clarification that free kicks can also be awarded for offences by a substitute, substituted or sent off player, or a team official


  • A player must stand to take a throw-in (kneeling, sitting etc. not permitted)

FIFA/AYSO 2016 Law Changes

No Heading rule

The new rule bans heading for all U-11 and below division players. If an AYSO program doesn’t have single age divisions, heading is banned for U-12 and below. Heading for players in U-14 will be limited to a maximum of thirty (30) minutes per week with no more than 15-20 headers, per player.  There is no restriction on heading in matches in U-13 and above.
The new policy includes that an indirect free kick will be awarded to the opposing team if a player age 10 or younger, deliberately touches the ball with his/her head during a game. The indirect free kick is to be taken from the place where the player touched the ball with his/her head. An indirect free kick awarded to the attacking team inside the opposing team’s penalty area, must be taken on the penalty area line parallel to the goal line at the point nearest to where the player touched the ball with his/her head. This policy was put into effect so referees, coaches and players can all align with the change quicker.
Safety is very important to AYSO as a whole. Heading was already banned for U-10 and below and extending it to U-11/U-12 was a way to ensure that players are older and more developed when attempting heading to avoid preventable head injuries.

FIFA Law Changes

The most significant change to the Laws is the removal of the controversial “triple punishment” requirement.  In the current Laws, if a defender fouls an attacker in the defender’s own penalty area, and the referee determines that the defender should be sent off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity, the defender (and their team) is subject to three punishments:

1. The defender is sent-off (and the team must play with one less player)
2. The attacking team is awarded a penalty kick.
3. The defender is subject to a further suspension (which varies by league, but ranges from 1 to 3 games).

Under the revised Laws, if the defender is making a legitimate attempt to play the ball and simply mis-times a tackle, for example, the defender will be cautioned instead of sent off. This only applies to fouls committed inside the penalty area, and only when the referee determines there was a legitimate attempt to play the ball.  If the defender should, for example, grab the jersey of the attacker, the defender would still be subject to being sent off.
Further, if the foul occurs outside of the penalty area, the defender would continue to be subject to a send off, consistent with the current edition of the Laws.

Other changes to the Laws include:

  • A kick-off may now be kicked in any direction, including backwards
  • Players who are injured as the result of a reckless or excessive force challenge (resulting in a caution or send off to the offender) will not be required to leave the field of play to receive treatment, if treatment can be handled expeditiously
  • Goalkeepers who come off their line during a penalty kick will be cautioned if the kick fails, in addition to the kick being re-taken
  • If the kicker of the penalty kick violates the Laws, the kick will no longer be retaken and play will be restarted with an indirect free kick for the defending team
  • If opposing players are off the field of play (through the course of normal play) and one commits a foul, play will be restarted with the appropriate free kick, on the touchline or goal line.  Under the current Laws, play restarts with a dropped ball, as only misconduct and not fouls can be committed off the field of play. 
  • Offside restarts will be taken from the point on the field where the offending player was when they became offside.  Under the current Laws, the restart would be taken from the point where they were originally in an offside position.
  • Taking of a corner kick, the ball must be stationary and is kicked by a player of the attacking team.  The ball is in play when it is kicked and clearly moves; it does not need to leave the corner area.  The referee will make the final determination whether the ball clearly moved or not. No longer can an attacking player just "tap" the ball with their feet to put it into active play.

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