Premier League announce rule change that will affect Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham next season



The start of the 2021/22 Premier League season is just days away.

Newly-promoted Brentford have the honour of getting the campaign underway on Friday night as they host an Arsenal side that has finished eighth in the past two seasons.

And for the game in west London, a rule change will come into place that will affect both sides, as well as the other 18 teams in the top flight of English football when they take to the field across the weekend.

As confirmed in the Premier League handbook for the new season, the rule states that nine substitutions are being permitted in matchday squads.

A statement reads: “Subject to Rule L.28A, in any league match a club may include in its teamsheet up to nine substitute players of whom not more than three may take part in the league match subject to the conditions set out in Law 3 of the Laws of the Game.”

That is an increase from seven substitutes to nine, which is certainly a benefit to the bigger clubs in the league who have larger squads than others.

This change also provides an opportunity for younger players to be involved in a Premier League matchday squad and get them a little bit closer to a first-team breakthrough.

With that said, the substitutes rule is not the only change coming into play from Friday.

football.london details the most significant rules changes that will impact Premier League clubs ahead of the new season.

Covid-19 spot-checks

The Premier League has announced fans are set to be subject to random spot-checks of their Covid-19 status at some grounds in the opening few weeks of the new season.

A statement reads: “Initially, in the first few matchdays of the season, supporters can expect the introduction of random spot-checks for ticket holders at some grounds as we establish the required processes so clubs and fans are prepared for all match attenders to have their Covid-19 status checked upon arrival, should it become mandatory.

“Even though the nation is reopening, the Government has made it clear that this pandemic is still far from over.

“It is possible the safety measures for matches could be subject to change at short notice. Fans should continue to follow the latest public health guidance and guidance from their club.

“However, even in these uncertain times, we are optimistic that by continuing to work together with fans, supporter groups, football stakeholders, national Government and local authorities everyone can enjoy full and vibrant stadiums while staying safe from Covid-19.

“The Premier League will continue consulting with all key stakeholders, including the Football Supporters’ Association, and will be running a series of fan-engagement campaigns to help all ticket-holders ensure they are match-ready.”

Handball rule

One of the first rules that is being altered is the accidental handball rule.

The change means that any accidental handball in the build-up to a goal will no longer be deemed an offence.

Fans of Premier League clubs had criticised the decision to disallow Fulham’s goal against Spurs last term, with Mario Lemina’s perceived handball the build-up to the Cottagers equaliser ruled out by VAR.

The new rule states: “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.”

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VAR offside lines

The Premier League will use thicker lines next season when determining offside calls.

Fans became increasingly frustrated at goals being chalked off for offside when players appeared level with the defensive line and the Premier League have decided to tackle these complaints by introducing thicker lines.

The aim is to eliminate situations where a goal is ruled out due to a players’ toe being offside, something Arsenal fans experienced when Bukayo Saka was adjudged to be marginally offside against Fulham last season.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) have agreed upon the introduction of thicker lines, however, it is unclear how thick the lines will be as of yet.

FIFA has also decided that only the bottom of player’s armpit should be considered as offside from now on after there was confusion surrounding what part of player’s bodies was and wasn’t offside





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