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The Surprising New Rules That Will Change The EPL Next Season

July 24, 2016

- Grant Whittington

With the new Premier League season nearly upon us, all eyes are the transfer window and the renewal of hostilities between Pep Guardiola and the irrepressible Jose Mourinho. This is understandable, of course, particularly given the fireworks that unfolded during their time together in La Liga.

This narrow and single-minded focus forces some news items to slip beneath the radar, however, including the numerous rule changes and adaptations that will come into play this season. Some of these are quite revolutionary, meaning that they are likely to have a huge initial impact as players respond.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at three of the most significant rule changes and how these will impact on the Premier League…

Anyone for 5-a-side? It could be Red Cards ahoy in the EPL next season

If you think back to February 2005, you will recall the pre-match row between Premier League legends and firebrands Roy Keane and Patrick Viera. This went unpunished as it unfolded in the confines of the Highbury tunnel, but under new rule changes such a dispute could earn a red card for both players before the game had even started. While each team could compensate for this by elevating one of their substitutes to the starting eleven, the players in question would miss the game and find themselves the subject of a disciplinary hearing and a three-game ban.

Similarly, a newly defined ‘respect’ campaign will allow referees to take a hard-line approach to players who showcase dissent before, during or after a game. More specifically, they can show red cards to players who use foul and abusive language towards the ref, and this new rule could result in a number of dismissals during the formative part of the season.

Victims of Red and Yellow card tackles can receive on-field treatment

At present, players who are injured during the course of game must leave the field of play in order to receive treatment. This will change in time for the new season, however, as players who are the victim of yellow or red card tackles will be able to receive on-field treatment at the discretion of the referee. This means that victim teams do not need to suffer adversely as the result of a bad or aggressive tackle, while it may also reduce the amount of tactical fouls that typically occur later in the game.

Kick-offs will never be the same again

Arguably the smallest and yet most noticeable change, teams will be afforded greater flexibility when starting and restarting games. So instead of being forced to pass the ball backwards to their nearest teammate, players can now move the ball over a larger distance and in any direction so long as there is at least some form of motion. We saw this law begin to take hold during the Euros, and is set to make its debut in the Premier League when the first games of the new season kick-off in August.

As a result of this, we may see some more creative kick-off as players look to capitalise on this rule change.

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