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New Rules for the 2019/20 Football Season

August 7, 2019

New Rules for the 2019/20 Football Season

Play fair and obey the rules, gentlemen. The major talking points of the summer have included the impending introduction of VAR and changes to the handball rule.

However, there are some other rule changes which have gone under the radar.

Drop Balls

Contested drop balls had become a rarity, and now they are officially gone from the game. The referee will just return the ball to the team who had it before the stoppage.

Or to the goalkeeper if the incident is in the penalty box. This wonderful contested drop ball between Rangers and Celtic may be the last we’ll ever see.

Free-kicks and walls

If the defending team creates a wall with three or more players, then no attacking player can be within one metre of it.

From a betting angle, this seems to be a negative for free-kick takers as defending is marginally easier. We should hopefully see more creativity from free-kicks.


Once a goal-kick is taken, the ball is considered to be in-play. No need to wait around for it to leave the box.

Expect to see a top defence forget about this new rule in the early weeks and be embarrassed by an opportunistic striker.

Coin Toss

The team that wins the coin toss can now choose to kick-off, rather than just choose which end to play.

This one is quite interesting from a betting point of view. If we know that Team A regularly chooses to kick-off, and Team B regularly selects which end to play, then we can be fairly sure that Team A will kick-off in the first half.

This will be potentially valuable information for niche markets like first corner and first throw-in.

Goalkeepers and Penalties

Goalkeepers and Penalties

Goalkeepers can no longer touch the posts, stand behind the line or move before the kick is taken. They must also have part of one foot touching the goal-line when the kick is taken.

As a punter, it does suggest that penalties will be more likely to be scored. Ultimately it will come down to whether these rules are enforced – a lot of the current penalty rules were ignored.


The hilarious sight of a substituted player wasting time by walking slowly across the pitch will be no more. Players must now leave the pitch at the nearest point to them.

We predict that at least one defender will not realize a substitution has been made and fail to pick up the incoming player.

Manager Yellow and Red Cards

Managers can now receive yellow and red cards, rather than just a verbal sending-off.

It’s a pity no bookmaker has come up with a ‘First Manager to Get a Red Card market’ – we fancy a certain smiling German with a short fuse.

About the author

Alan Penny
Alan Penny


Alan hails from Northern Ireland and is an avid fan of all sports. He has been with us since 2017 and serves as SBO’s Editor-in-Chief. Alan passionately covers everything from the latest regulatory developments across the globe to tips on the latest football matches.