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Proposed football rule changes focus on free kicks and goal kicks

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The organization that maintains the rules for world football has suggested a few tweaks to the laws of the game.

Hull City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Changes could be coming to the rules of football, according to an article in the Times of London. The International Football Association Board (Ifab), the organization responsible for setting the rules and laws of the game worldwide, have released a proposal that would change the rules for how players are allowed to take goal kicks, free kicks, corners, along with a host of other small tweaks.

Here’s a brief summary of the biggest of the proposed changes:

At first glance, these don’t appear to be major changes, but they could have a significant impact on the way teams play. Allowing goal kicks to be made to players within the box could benefit teams like Tottenham Hotspur and other clubs that like to play out of the back and progress the ball through the centerbacks. The rule about taking free kicks from a moving ball would enable very fast restarts after fouls assessed in the game, and allowing players to play free kicks to themselves could basically mean players can just dribble the ball out of free kick situations.

Other proposed rule changes include allowing players to dribble the ball out of of corner kicks, not allowing a referee to blow for time unless the ball is out of play, and a couple of “crowding” rules — clubs could be penalized points for mobbing an official after a refereeing decision, and abolishing “follow-up” shots after a missed penalty kick, which would prevent players from massing at the edge of the box to rush in and put in a rebound.

These rule changes, along with a push to implement instant replay and technology into the game, are not approved yet. It’s a slow process — certain rules in this proposal will be green-lit in the next month on a trial basis to see how effective they are, and the Times writes that the new rules will be debated by the committee “over the next nine months.” So don’t expect to see any of these new rules in effect by the start of the next Premier League season.

Football is notoriously slow to change, and often contains rules that are either archaic, don’t make a whole lot of sense, or are incredibly difficult to underand and/or implement (see: the offside rule). While it’s likely that some, or even most, of these rules will not ultimately be implemented, it’s nice that the committee is still thinking of ways to make the game better.

What do you think of these proposed rule changes?