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FIFA Laws of the Game 2020-21

The FIFA / IFAB Laws of the Game are important to understand for fans and players as well as referees and govern football at all levels of the game around the world.

There have been a number of changes and amendments to the laws of the game for this season. Here’s a summary of those big alterations.

Law 10 – Determining the Outcome of a Match   

  • Yellow cards (YCs) and warnings are not carried forward into kicks from the penalty mark (KFPM) 
  • See also changes to Law 14 relating to KFPM 

Law 11 – Offside 

  • Deliberate handball by a defending player is considered ‘deliberate play’ for offside

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct 

  • Handball: the boundary between the shoulder and the arm is defined as the bottom of the armpit 
  • ‘accidental’ handball by an attacking player (or team-mate) is only penalised if it occurs ‘immediately’ before a goal or clear goal-scoring opportunity 
  • A goalkeeper can receive a YC or be sent off (RC) for ‘illegally’ touching the ball a second time after a restart (e.g. goal kick, free kick etc.) even if the touch is with the hand/arm 
  • Any offence (not only a foul) which ‘interferes with or stops a promising attack’ should result in a YC 
  • A player who fails to respect the 4m required distance at a dropped ball should receive a YC 
  • If the referee plays advantage or allows a ‘quick’ free kick for an offence which ‘interfered with or stopped a promising attack’, the YC is not issued 

Law 14 – The Penalty Kick 

  • An offence by the goalkeeper is not penalised if a penalty kick misses the goal or rebounds from the goal (without a touch from the goalkeeper) unless the offence clearly affected the kicker 
  • The goalkeeper is warned for the first offence; it is a YC for any further offence(s) 
  • The kicker is penalised if the goalkeeper and the kicker offend at exactly the same time

VAR Protocol 

  • Only one ‘TV signal’ is required for a VAR-only review 


  • A definition of the offence of holding has been included
  • A player’s position at a restart is the position of the feet or any part of the body which is touching the ground (except as outlined in Law 11 – Offside) 

Please click here to view an IFAB Presentation with video examples explaining the new changes or download the resources below