Premier League Make Changes To VAR, Thicker Offside Lines and Handball Rule


As the new Premier League season edges closer, there have been some major rule changes around VAR, the handball rule and substitutions.

The first change surrounds VAR as the Premier League are set to use “thicker lines” than used before to determine marginal decisions.

After a presentation by Professional Game Match Officials Limited referees’ chief Mike Riley in June, this agreement was approved, with the goal of giving the benefit back to the attacking team.

Credit: PA

While the exact thickness of these lines has yet to be determined, this rule modification should eliminate situations in which a little portion of the attacking player’s body, such as a toe, can result in a goal being disallowed.

Furthermore, as seen in games like Euro 2020, fans viewing the game will not be able to witness the VAR official changing the lines on the pitch to make a judgement, and instead will see the final screenshot to prevent dispute.

Credit: PA

FIFA has also stated that the bottom of the armpit will henceforth be considered the area of the body where offsides would be measured.

Last season, the handball regulation sparked a lot of debate and was even modified midway through the season.

As a consequence, the Premier League has clarified that while unintentional handball in the build-up to a goal is no longer a foul, it is still a foul if the handball actually produces or scores the goal.

Credit: PA

These handball judgments have also been changed for when a referee believes a player has made their body “unnaturally larger.”

According to the new regulation, the referee will consider the context of the motion when determining whether a player has purposefully shifted their body to gain an advantage.

Whilst this gives more power to the pitch officials, this decision-making will remain subjective and therefore undoubtedly controversial.

The final rule change is that the EFL have scrapped the five substitutions rule and instead clubs will only be allowed 3 with just one additional concussion substitution if necessary.

Featured Image Credit: PA