The roar of fans celebrating. The agony and angst of waiting for a VAR call. The painful realisation that a goal your team scored has been denied for a marginal offside call.
The ups and downs of being a supporter of a Premier League team are set to return in less than three weeks when the 2021/22 campaign gets underway on August 13, with Arsenal travelling to newly-promoted Brentford in the opening fixture of the season.
After constant officiating controversies last term, the FA have listened to supporters’ qualms and attempted to rectify some problems surrounding VAR and handball rules.
Here, football.london details the most significant rules changes that will impact Premier League clubs ahead of the new season.
Handball rule change
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.”
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
The Premier League have still not confirmed whether teams will be permitted 18 or 20-man matchday squads after amending the rule midway through last season due to the pandemic.
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.
Source by Football London