In the current Laws, if a defender fouls an attacker in the defender’s own penalty area, and the referee determines that the defender should be sent off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity, the defender (and their team) is subject to three punishments:
1. The defender is sent-off (and the team must play with one less player)
2. The attacking team is awarded a penalty kick.
3. The defender is subject to a further suspension (which varies by league, but ranges from 1 to 3 games).
Under the revised Laws, if the defender is making a legitimate attempt to play the ball and simply mis-times a tackle, for example, the defender will be cautioned instead of sent off. This only applies to fouls committed inside the penalty area, and only when the referee determines there was a legitimate attempt to play the ball. If the defender should, for example, grab the jersey of the attacker, the defender would still be subject to being sent off.
Further, if the foul occurs outside of the penalty area, the defender would continue to be subject to a send off, consistent with the current edition of the Laws.
B. A kick-off may now be kicked in any direction, including backwards
C. Goalkeepers who come off their line during a penalty kick will be cautioned if the kick fails, in addition to the kick being re-taken
D. If the kicker of the penalty kick violates the Laws, the kick will no longer be retaken and play will be restarted with an indirect free kick for the defending team
E. If opposing players are off the field of play (through the course of normal play) and one commits a foul, play will be restarted with the appropriate free kick, on the touchline or goal line. Under the current Laws, play restarts with a dropped ball, as only misconduct and not fouls can be committed off the field of play. Example, when a pair of opponents go off the field during the run of play, and one grabs the other to prevent him/her from re-entering the field of play. The team of the player whose shirt was grabbed will now be awarded a free-kick on the appropriate boundary line. Note that this could result in a penalty kick being awarded.
F. Offside restarts will be taken from the point on the field where the offending player was when they became offside. Under the current Laws, the restart would be taken from the point where they were originally in an offside position. (Editor’s note: it will be interesting to see how the Assistant Referee mechanics might be updated to handle a situation where a player starts a play from an offside position in the attacking half of the field and then becomes involved in active play on the defending half of the field)