VAR, handball and subs: Premier League rule changes will affect Man Utd and Man City in 2021/22


From thicker lines being used to new handball rules, Premier League supporters will have to accustom themselves to new rule changes for the upcoming 2021/22 season.

There were plenty of controversies due to VAR decisions last season, and the FA have attempted to fix some of the complaints made by fans throughout the season in a new set of VAR rules for the season ahead.

With less than three weeks to go until the commencing of the new season MEN have decided to take a look at the most significant rule changes prior to the beginning of the campaign.

New handball rule

One of the first rules to be changed is that an accidental handball in the build-up to a goal will no longer be deemed an offence.

Both Manchester clubs saw handball decisions go against them during the season that would now be allowed to stand under the new rules, and the change will be seen as positive by fans and players alike.

The new language says: “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 being penalised.”

The law no longer specifies that particular positions are inherently unnatural (i.e. the removed language of “the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level,” which codified specific movements as unnatural by default) or that particular movements are always not an offence (i.e. the removed language specifying that it should not be an offence if “when a player falls and the hand/arm is between the body and the ground to support the body, but not extended laterally or vertically away from the body”).

VAR interpretation of offside

The Premier League will use thicker lines next season in order to determine offsides.

After several controversial decisions when determining marginal offside situations, the Premier League are set to tackle complaints by introducing thicker lines.

The aim is to eliminate situations where a goal is ruled-out due to a players’ toe being offside.

For now it’s unclear how thick the lines will be or what model the Premier League will follow with the International Football Association Board (IFAB) having not set requirement on how thick offside lines need to be when using VAR.

But the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) have struck an agreement and fans should have more clarity once the season begins.

After several controversial decisions in the Premier League involving players’ armpits being offside, the rules have also been clarified as to where a player’s body should be determined to be offside.

According to FIFA, only the bottom of the armpit should be classed as offside from now on which may eliminate future controversy from fans and the Premier League are expected to adhere to the new rule.

How many substitutions are allowed

The Premier League are yet to confirm whether teams will be permitted 18- or 20-man matchday squads after amending the rule midway through last season.

However, it is likely that the three sub rule will remain with EFL clubs reverting to three substitutions per game after doing five substitutions last season.

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