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What’s new in 2023/24: Applications of the Laws of the Game

9 Aug 2023
Substitute board for added time

See how added time, DOGSO and offsides will be different in the new Premier League season

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Ahead of the 2023/24 Premier League season starting on 11 August, here are some features you will see for the first time.

There will be a difference this season in how match officials will be applying the Laws of the Game.

Timekeeping

Premier League matches will align this season with the latest IFAB guidance on timekeeping. 

This means timers in stadiums will now be left running until the completion of each half, including additional time in both the first and second half.

Match officials are committed to ensuring a more accurate calculation of additional time, as well as an improvement in the amount of time the ball is in play.

Therefore, the exact time lost when certain match events occur will now be added, as opposed to the previous policy of a nominal period of time being added for particular game incidents. 

These match events include: 
- Goals and subsequent celebrations
- Substitutions
- Injuries and treatment time (if required)
- Penalties (from moment of offence to the whistle for the penalty kick)
- Red cards (from moment of offence to when the player leaves the field)

This switch to the calculation of added time has already been introduced in the FIFA Men’s World Cup last year and FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer. 

It was also in use in the Community Shield and opening round of EFL fixtures last weekend.

Allowing stadium timers to keep running for the duration of each half will keep spectators and players informed, and is a key innovation in ensuring further transparency in regard to game management.

Denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity

There will be a slight change to the interpretation where a player commits a foul in their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO) and leads to a penalty.

The referee will now issue a yellow card not only for when the offence was an attempt to play the ball but also if it is “a challenge for the ball”.

This gives referees more scope to interpret such fouls as yellow-card offences, rather than red, as in the past.

A red card will be shown in all other circumstances, such as holding, pulling, pushing and where there was no possibility to play the ball.

Offside

The IFAB and FIFA have also clarified the guidelines for determining a “deliberate play” by a defender in regards to offsides.

A “deliberate play” is when a player has control of the ball and with the possibility of:
- passing the ball to a team-mate; or
- gaining possession of the ball; or
- clearing the ball (e.g., by kicking or heading it)

If a player is considered to be in control of the pass, attempt to gain possession or clearance, this would be a ‘deliberate play’ and the attacker in an offside position should not be penalised for offside.

An inaccurate or unsuccessful action does not change that the defender “deliberately played” the ball. 

Also in this series

Part 1: Nike Flight ball
Part 2: Number and font styles on shirts
Part 3: Premier League's 51st club
Part 4: Match officials
Part 5: Return of mid-season player break
Part 6: Extra Champions League place
Part 8: VAR Hub

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