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Premier League goalkeepers will have to follow new 'countdown' rule which will change football forever

Premier League goalkeepers will have to follow new 'countdown' rule which will change football forever

A major change.

Premier League goalkeepers will finally have to follow a 'countdown' rule that will change football forever, according to a new report.

Football has gone through a number of regulation changes in recent years, with goalline technology and VAR introduced.

There has also been a crackdown on certain in-game offences, while managers can now be booked and sent off for committing various infringements.

Elsewhere, there has been talk of bringing in a blue card (a sin bin rule) during matches.

But while many of the changes made have been controversial, there is one current scenario that infuriates most football fans - goalkeepers often being allowed to hold on to the ball for lengthy amounts of time before releasing it.

While laws are in place for goalkeepers to have to release the ball after six seconds, the application of the law isn't seen as much as supporters might like.

Now, The Guardian report that the International Football Association Board (Ifab) have announced a number of trials 'to improve player behaviour in matches' at their recent annual general meeting in Loch Lomond.

One of the trials will be to formally increase the number of seconds that a goalkeeper can hold the ball, from six to eight seconds.

It is said that, for the last five seconds of the countdown, referees will hold up one hand and count down from five fingers to indicate how long the goalkeeper has to release the ball.

The report adds that if the goalkeeper runs out of time and is still in possession, a number of penalties will be considered.

They include a throw-in to the opposition, which would be in line with the penalty spot, or a corner.


The current punishment for exceeding the allotted six seconds is to give an indirect free kick - where a set piece is taken from wherever the offence was committed inside the penalty area - to the opposition. Ifab board member Ian Maxwell told The Guardian that giving such a punishment is 'incredibly difficult' for referees.

The current law states that a goalkeeper is penalised with an indirect free kick inside the area if they 'control the ball with the hand/arm for more than six seconds before releasing it'.

Indirect free kicks are rarely seen in the Premier League, although Alan Shearer infamously scored one against West Brom in 2002 - despite the entire opposition team being on the goalline.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Football, Premier League