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Ringing in the round ball New Year

Manton St Tales

The new season is here, and with it comes a host of new rules. Spiro Karanikos-Mimis explains what’s changed, and what will spark debate at all levels of the game.

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Happy New Year everybody!

The new financial year has arrived and with that, another 12 months of joy. Season 2019/20 has officially arrived!

And whilst the A-League season is still three months away, we’ll get a small taste of action through the early rounds of the FFA Cup. The Round of 32 will see:

– Adelaide United travel away to play Melbourne Knights (who celebrated their qualification the only way they know how).

– Adelaide Olympic play Floreat Athena from Western Australia. A Greek derby. Athena, of course, is the club Stan Lazaridis started his brilliant career at.

– Campbelltown City host Melbourne City at Steve Woodcock Reserve; my tip for the upset of the season. The Red Devils can (and will) take it to City. It will also allow their talented roster to show what they have, and don’t be surprised if there will be immediate interest in some of their players after this game.

But with the beginning of the new season, we have some new laws to get our head around.

Our game has come a long way since the laws were first drawn up in 1863. Did you know, for example, penalties weren’t awarded until 1891 and were known as the ‘kick of death’?

I would welcome this terminology back. Imagine the punters discussing a VAR kick of death decision? https://gph.is/g/Z21wgDm

Anyway, the new laws started on 1 June, but only in competitions that hadn’t commenced.

That’s why in the Women’s World Cup the new rules are enforced, but in competitions that started before that – like the National Premier League in South Australia or the MLS in Northern America – they have not.

So what’s changing? If you’re a really passionate about this stuff, you can get a comprehensive overview here.

But below are some of the more interesting things that we will see starting this season.

And some will cause some interesting debate in the stands and in grassroots games.

Bye-bye contested drop balls

When I played indoor soccer at the now-closed Craigmore YMCA, we had a referee who used to throw the ball up in the air when there was a drop ball.

I’m not sure he knew the meaning of the word ‘drop’. But it was great because it gave me ample time to line up my opponent’s shin. No more of that then.

All drop balls will now be uncontested with players needed to be at least five metres away.

Now, if a drop ball scenario occurs in the penalty box,  the goalkeeper will get the ball.

Anywhere else, the ball will be dropped for one player of the team that last touched the ball at the point of the last touch (that’s the exact wording by the way).

If the ball touches the referee (or another match official) and goes into the goal, team possession changes or a promising attack starts, a dropped ball will be awarded.

Such a shame. We are going to miss the sounds of shin-on-shin during the contested drop ball.

No more disruptions of the defensive wall

When there is a ‘wall’ of three or more defenders, the attackers are not allowed within one metre of the wall; an attacker less than one metre from the ‘wall’ when the kick is taken will be penalised with an indirect free kick.

Or, in common English: no more trying to break up the defensive wall by forcing yourself in the middle of it and grasping for anything in the way.

Have the football gods truly abandoned us?

Yellows for illegal goal celebrations when a goal isn’t given

So you’ve just scored a 95th minute screamer to win a game for your C-Grade amateur team in a top of the table clash away from home.

It doesn’t happen often, so you decide to celebrate the old fashioned way – remove your shirt and run for the corner flag.

The referee (employed by your opponents) decides he can’t allow that and fabricates a reason to have the goal disallowed. Your shoelace was slightly offside.

The referee shows you a yellow card – it stands but the goal doesn’t.

The ball is live

Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that the ball will randomly explode – which actually might be a decent addition to the game.

It’s common knowledge that if you have a free-kick in your own penalty box or a goal-kick, that the ball isn’t actually in play (or live) until it exits the penalty area.

No more. Once they ball is kicked, it is game on.

Attackers will like this rule as the defensive team has often used this to their advantage, especially in an era where goalkeepers are encouraged to pass it short rather than belt it up field.

It’s common for defenders who may have misread the play and find themselves under pressure from an attacker to step into the penalty area to collect the pass, forcing the referee to order a re-take.

Take the nearest exit

Players who are being substituted will now need to leave the field of play at the nearest point on the touchline or goal line, unless directed otherwise by the referee.

About time, but the rule is about 100 years too late. No more slow walks from the furthest part of the ground for players wanting to usurp time from the game.

The ‘thank goodness Marco Kurz isn’t a club official’ rule change

A team official guilty of misconduct will be shown a yellow or red card; if the offender cannot be identified, the senior coach who is in the technical area at the time will receive the card.

There’s more including some interesting changes to the handball rule which needs its own edition of Manton Street Tales.

Welcome to the New Year, everyone.

Side Note

If you’re keen on getting out to some football this weekend, my recommendation is to head out to Carnegie Reserve at Royal Park on Saturday. It is first versus second in the SAASL Saturday Premier Division. Adelaide Red Blue Eagles will host Adelaide Titans, with only a goal difference separating the two teams. Kick-off is 3pm.

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