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Football lawmakers to trial major rule change which goalkeepers will hate

Football lawmakers to trial major rule change which goalkeepers will hate

The rule could change the Premier League forever.

Football's lawmakers are set to trial a new rule that could change the Premier League forever, but goalkeepers are not going to like it.

The beautiful game has undergone its fair share of changed in recent years.

From goal-line technology to Video Assistant Referees, the handball laws to kick-off routines, something seems to change every year.

The next issue that the International Football Association Board (IFAB) wants to address is time-wasting, specifically when when committed by goalkeepers.

Under current laws forbid a goalkeeper from holding onto the ball for longer than six seconds, and if they do, the opposite is awarded an indirect free-kick from the spot of the offence.

In practice, referees rarely enforce the rule as it is felt that an indirect free kick inside the penalty area is too great a punishment, as the opposition team goes from having no chance of scoring to having a clear opportunity.

In addition, managing a free kick inside the penalty area is difficult and time-consuming, with so many bodies stood close to the goal mouth.

As an alternative solution, IFAB are proposing that if a goalkeeper holds on for the ball too long, the opposition will regain possession with either a corner kick or a throw-in taken from the side of the pitch closest to where the goalkeeper was.

The time limit for the goalkeeper to hold on to the ball will be increased to eight seconds, to allow for situations when release of the ball is prevented by opponents.

Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya. (

Referees will start counting the eight seconds when the goalkeeper has clear control of the ball with the hands, with a raised hand indicating the countdown from five seconds to zero.

The goalkeeper will receive a warning for the first offence and shown a yellow card for any subsequent offence.

According to ESPN's Dale Johnson, the new rules will be trialled in competitions that do not involve teams from the top two domestic levels or senior ‘A’ international teams.

The results of the trials will be considered by the IFAB in October and November 2025, and if successful, the new laws could be rolled out for the 2026-27 season.

The IFAB believes the new rules could eliminate goalkeeper time-wasting, or at the least reduce its frequency.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Football, Premier League, VAR, FIFA