The new Premier League season is upon us. With major changes to cut down on time wasting and dissent being applied this season, here is the breakdown of all the new rule changes to be aware of heading into the start of the new football season.
The biggest change to be implemented this upcoming season will be substantial changes to added time. As was the case at the Qatar World Cup, match officials will be firm with adding on the specific amount of time that is lost during periods when play is stopped, such as goal kicks, penalty kicks, free kicks, goals celebrations, substitutions or injuries.
This has come off the back of concerns about time wasting across the Football League. The average ball in play over the past 10 seasons in the Premier League averages around 55 minutes per game, with some matches last season such as Brentford v Aston Villa leaving fans short-changed with the ball in-play for under 45 minutes.
Therefore, the Premier League’s initiative to combat this issue will see games lasting far longer than the norm. These new plans were implemented during the EFL’s opening match week, where all but two games ticked over 10 minutes of added time due to these new changes in the law.
This extra time added onto matches could result in more drama beyond the 90 minutes with more late goals potentially being scored in injury time. But there is an argument that this new rule change will benefit the bigger teams like Manchester City or Arsenal who will be given more time to wear down their opponents and stamp their authority on matches.
Whichever the case, more stoppage time will give the season an interesting new dynamic to watch out for during the first few months.
Another area of the game that often prevents new fans from watching the league is dissent from players towards the referee.
Last year the numbers of incidents that involved groups of players crowding around the match officials attempting to aggressively argue their case began to rise dramatically, meaning referees will take a stricter stance in order to stamp it out of the game.
In the new laws automatic yellow cards will be shown to players who approach the referee or run from a distance towards them.
Football has often come under criticism for a lack of respect between players and those in charge of running the game, so this is a change that could be universally applauded.
In line with the changes around dissent, the Premier League will also be cracking down on abuse and aggression from the touchlines aimed at the fourth official.
In domestic competitions alone in 2023, Brighton’s manager Roberto De Zerbi, Tottenham head coach at the time Cristian Stellini and Fulham’s Marco Silva have all been sent off during matches, and Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp has been charged with improper conduct by the FA due to the way he acted and spoke about match officials.
Consequently, stricter rules are being brought in to limit the amount of dissent from the benches. In 2023/24 only one coach will be allowed in the technical area and aggression from coaches will be firmly met with red cards.
These crackdowns on the behaviour of players and managers were witnessed during Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City in the Community Shield, where several players, as well as Mikel Arteta, received cards for kicking the ball away and trying to argue with the referee – giving us a good insight into how the new rules will be applied this season.
One of the league’s biggest initiatives during the past few seasons is trying to allow the games to flow better, making it a better product to watch for fans.
This will continue in 2023/24 with a higher threshold to be applied to physical contact in the hope that this will lead to fewer free kicks and more free flowing games of football.
The traditional rules will still be applied to reckless challenges or tackles that are overly physical but, like the other changes planned for this season, the league will hope this will make the game more enjoyable to watch and lead to another unforgettable season of Premier League football.
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