The 2023/24 Premier League season is upon us and once again we are preparing ourselves for new changes in the laws.
Treble winners Manchester City kick-off the new campaign on Friday against Championship winners Burnley and their former captain and Clarets’ head coach Vincent Kompany, but what can we expect from the new season?
With five substitutions and goalkeepers needing to keep one foot on the line during penalties now the norm after being introduced before the beginning of last season, the IFAB (the International Football Association Board) have introduced even more law changes for 2023/24 aimed on improving the beautiful game.
From more football for your money to a possible increase in bookings, here is everything you need to know:
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There will be a huge crackdown on players approaching the referee in 2023/24, with the threshold for a player to receive a caution for dissent being reduced. From now on, any player that runs from a distance to approach a match official will be booked, while if more than one player surrounds the referee, at least one of those players, and potentially more, will automatically be shown a yellow card.
Lets get physical
A higher threshold will now be applied for “contact” between players and as a result fewer free-kicks should now be awarded for tackles that may have been penalised for being overly physical last season.
However, any player thought to have made challenge that is seen as “reckless” by the officials will receive a yellow card, while “careless” challenges will still be seen as a foul and any player who “endangers the safety” of an opponent will receive be sent for an early bath.
There will be a huge crackdown on the touchline this season, aiming to reduce conflict between players, managers, coaches and officials.
Aggressive behaviour from coaches, towards opponents or match officials, will be met with a red card, and any club official that receives their marching orders must be out-of-sight of the pitch. So there will be no more iconic photos of managers watching from the stands like Arsene Wenger at Old Trafford.
Pay attention Emi Martinez.
From now on, goalkeepers must behave themselves when attempting to save a penalty. According to Law 14 from the FA’s Laws of the game, “Goalkeepers must not behave in a manner that fails to show respect for the game and the opponent, i.e. by unfairly distracting the kicker”.
This includes delaying the taking of the kick, touching the goalposts, crossbar or the net.
Don’t go home early
No more will fans want to leave on the 90th minute mark to avoid the traffic. In what is probably the biggest change in the laws for the 2023/24 campaign, the amount of stoppage time we will now see in the top four divisions of English football will be increased.
Just like the World Cup, when matches routinely went over the 100 minute mark, more time will be added at the end of each half with referees now obliged to specifically time how long the match is paused for before the game re-starts. This includes stoppages for goals, celebrations, injuries, delays before free-kicks and goal kicks, as well as substitutions.
Referees will also be tasked clamping down on “clear and impactful actions” that waste time, including goalkeepers taking too long with their goal kicks.
While fans will be getting their money’s worth with the ball in play for a lot longer, the players themselves aren’t happy with the decision, warning that they will not be able to give 100% on the pitch.
“We had a meeting last week with the FA. They recommended from the referees new decisions and rules,” Varane tweeted.
“From the managers and players, we have shared our concerns for many years now that there are too many games, the schedule is overcrowded, and it’s at a dangerous level for players physical and mental well-being.
“Despite our previous feedbacks, they have now recommended for next season: longer games, more intensity, and less emotions to be shown by players. We just want to be in good condition on the pitch to give 100% to our club and fans. Why are our opinions not being heard?
“As a player I feel very privileged to do the job I love every day but I feel these changes are damaging our game. We want to be at our maximum level, the best we can be and put on amazing performances for fans to celebrate every week.
“I believe it is important that we, players and managers, highlight these important issues as we want to protect the game we love and give the fans our best.”
Without any further games, Varane’s Man Utd are currently scheduled to play 46 matches in the 2023/24 season but that could extend to 63 were they to go all the way in all competitions, or even 65 if they were to drop down to the Europa League and go all the way there. And that’s before you consider the four international breaks with eight match days.
It’s not inconceivable that there could be some footballers playing 70 matches this season, with almost 100 minutes per game.