The 2019-2020 changes to the Laws of the Game are in effect this season, except as temporarily modified by MYSA for the fall 2020 season (see next paragraph.) Highlights of the LOTG changes can be found in the Referees menu on the BAYS website or by clicking here: https://bays.org/content/laws-game-change-summary-2020-0
Here is a summary of the Mass Youth Soccer Temporary Game Modifications - Also review this useful infographic: Temporary Modifications to the Laws of the Game
- No Heading – All intentional heading of a soccer ball is suspended for all ages. Any intentional heading will be treated as a violation of IFAB Law 12, Playing in a Dangerous Manner, Indirect Free Kick restart. Goalkeepers are not permitted to use their head to clear the ball.
- No intentional body contact – Shoulder to shoulder, backing in, pulling of shirt, shorts or mask is considered a violation of Law 12, playing in a dangerous manner and will result in an indirect free kick restart or other applicable of misconduct based on the referee’s decision.
- Intermittent and/or unintentional contact – A player is allowed to make intermittent and/or unintentional contact with opposing team members if the player is attempting to make foot to ball contact (legal tackle) and the contact occurs as a result of the tackle.
- No slide tackling – The use of slide tackling is suspended and is to be considered a violation of Law 12, Playing in a Dangerous Manner, Indirect Free Kick restart or their applicable foul or misconduct based on the referee’s decision. “Going to the ground” to save a ball from going out of touch or to stop a long ground pass is not considered a “tackle” and is permissible if no other players are within 6 feet.
- All Restarts –
- Players must comply with 6-foot distancing from both teammates and opponents.
- The ball should be placed where the restart will take place with one’s foot. If hands are used the ball will need to be removed from play and sanitized.
- Goalkeepers are permitted to touch the ball, preferably with gloves. If goalkeepers touch their face hands during play (with bared or gloved hands) and then touch the ball, the ball must be removed from play and sanitized – if wearing gloves, then the gloves must be sanitized.
- No Throw-Ins – When the ball crosses the touchline, restarts will be an indirect free kick from the spot on the touchline where the ball went out of play. The kicked ball may enter the penalty area. There are no changes to the offside rule. Offside will be enforced for all direct and indirect free kick restarts.
- No Corner Kicks – Corner Kicks as defined by IFAB Law 17 are suspended and to be replaced by an indirect free kick. The ball must be placed in the corner area nearest to the point where the ball passed over the goal line. All IFAB Law 13 IDFK procedures, offences, and sanctions, including those for small-sided games (e.g. 8 yards), apply. The ball may enter the penalty area. Players must separate by 6 feet or more prior to the kick being taken.
- No dropped ball – The use of a Dropped Ball as a restart is suspended. To replace this procedure, an Indirect Free Kick will be awarded to the team whom the referee deemed to be in possession when the referee stops play.
- No coin toss – The visiting team chooses to kick-off or defer to the second half.
In general, each referee is advised to review the most recent Mass Youth Soccer Return to Soccer Activities guidelines at https://www.mayouthsoccer.org/return-to-soccer-activities.
Please note, this guidance while in effect as of this writing, is fluid in nature and is expected to change as circumstances evolve. Further, each referee should also review the MA Youth Soccer presentation on return to soccer activities, found on the web page from the hyperlink above, as it is an excellent example of how players, coaches, and staff are being guided.
Referee Health – Monitor your health! If you do not feel well contact a licensed medical professional for guidance. If you are sick, recovering from being sick, or under a quarantine order, you may not participate in refereeing soccer matches. There will be no stigma attached to declining any match at any time, and a referee need not provide a reason why they are declining any match, or any health information at any time.
- Arrive at your matches at least 20 minutes prior to kickoff
- Verify all coaches on the sideline (maximum of 3) have MYSA 2020-2021 credentials. The game may not kick off if there is not a credentialed adult in each technical area.
- Collect a paper roster from each coach. Coaches should write in player’s numbers (if not preprinted) and cross off any coaches or players absent. Referees should make sure the number of not crossed out players and coaches matches the number of people in the technical area.
- Referees should perform a safety check of the players (e.g., shin guards, casts, jewelry) while maintaining at least six feet of social distancing. For fall 2020, referees are not required to check each player & number during the safety check.
- Player passcards are not required during the fall season.
- Know the LOTG and the rules of competition for the match you are doing.
During a Match:
- Referees must wear a face covering at all times before, during, and after the match. Players, spectators, and team officials are also required to wear a mask.
- For safety concerns, players may only wear ear-loop masks. Neck gaiters, bandanas, and vented masks, etc. are not allowed.
- Keep between 6 and 10 feet away from any participant at all times before, during, and after the match. This includes, but is not limited to, pre-match inspections, during active play, half-time intervals, and at the conclusion of the match.
- Allow flexibility on spectator placement. While any spectator must be a minimum of 6 feet from the field, they may require additional spaces around the field to watch a match. Please be flexible in this regard.
- Referees must use a signaling device that does not produce respiratory droplets. Electronic whistles are recommended.
- Do not share referee equipment with other referees unless properly cleaned prior to an exchange.
- Do not engage in any post-match celebrations such as a handshake line.
After a Match:
- Keep your mask on until you depart the field. Players, coaches, spectators, and referees are required to depart the field immediately after the game to allow ample time for the participants of the next game to arrive while maintaining the state mandated maximum number of people allowed at the field.
- File your game report (preferably on the same day as the game.) This is a requirement to get paid. The game report has been modified, clarifying some questions, and adding questions about issuing yellow cards, red cards, and if there were any serious injuries during the game.