As the new Premier League season edges closer, there have been some major rule changes around VAR, the handball rule and substitutions.
The first change surrounds VAR as the Premier League are set to use "thicker lines" than used before to determine marginal decisions.
This agreement was authorised after a presentation by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited referees' chief Mike Riley in June which will look to give the benefit back to the attacking team.
Whilst the specific thickness of these lines have not been confirmed, this rule change should start to rule out occasions where a small part of the attacking player's body such as a toe can lead to a goal being ruled out.
Additionally, as we have seen in competitions such as Euro 2020, viewers watching the game will not be able to see the VAR official adjusting the lines on the pitch to make a decision and instead the final screenshot will be shown to reduce controversy.
Interestingly, FIFA have also clarified that the bottom of the armpit is now being classed as the part of the body where offsides will be measured.
The handball rule caused a lot of controversy last season and was even changed midway through the campaign.
As a result, the Premier League have now confirmed that accidental handball in the build-up to a goal will no longer be considered an offence however it will remain a foul if the handball directly creates or scores the goal.
These rulings around handball have also been altered for when a referee has considered a player to have made their body "unnaturally bigger".
The rule now suggests that the referee will decide whether a player has deliberately moved their body to gain an advantage based on the context of the move.
Whilst this gives more power to the pitch officials, this decision-making will remain subjective and therefore undoubtedly controversial.
The final rule change is that the EFL have scrapped the five substitutions rule and instead clubs will only be allowed 3 with just one additional concussion substitution if necessary.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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