Laws of the Game 2017-2018 now available

The Laws of the Game 2017-2018 are now available. IFAB previously has published the changes for next season, but now there’s also a document with the new LOTG available. Read them now and be prepared for the next season.

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Laws of the Game 2017-2018IFAB says the 2016-2017 revision of the Laws of the Game was “probably the most far-reaching and comprehensive in The IFAB’s history”.  The aim was to make
the Laws clearer, more accessible and to ensure they reflect the needs of
the modern game.

The Laws of the Game 2017-2018 contain the follow up of the big revision of last year. Most of them are already shown in the clarifications given in November.

From IFAB: “In addition to the clarifications, there are some changes which are extensions of principles established in the 2016/17 revision, for example:

  • the philosophy behind reducing the disciplinary sanction from a sending-off (RC) to a caution (YC) for ‘denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO)’ in the penalty area if the offence is an attempt to play the ball is now applied to ‘stopping a promising attack’ in the penalty area which will not be a caution (YC) if the offence is an attempt to play the ball
  • penalising with a direct free kick a player who enters the field of play without the required referee’s permission and interferes with play, as is the case for a substitute/team official.
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Download a digital copy of the Laws of the Game for the upcoming 2017-2018 season Share on X

Outline summary with changes of the of Laws of the Game 2017-2018

Herewith a simple outline of the main changes /clarifications.

IFAB Laws of the Game changes 2017-2018ALL LAWS

  • Replace ‘infringement/infringe’ etc. with ‘offence/offend’ etc.


  • Artificial turf may be used for the lines on a grass field if not dangerous


  • National FAs can allow a maximum of five substitutions (except at the top level)
  • National FAs can now allow return substitutions in youth, veterans and disability football
  • Clearer wording for the substitution procedure
  • A substitution made at half-time without informing referee is not a caution (YC) offence
  • Changing the goalkeeper at half-time without informing the referee is not a caution (YC)
  • Player who enters the field of play without the referee’s permission (if it is required) and interferes is punished with a direct free kick (FK)
  • Team scoring a goal with an extra person on the field is punished with a direct FK


  • Goalkeeper caps are not included in the list of restrictions on head covers
  • Players are not permitted to wear/use any electronic or communication equipment, except electronic performance and tracking systems/EPTS); technical staff may only use communication equipment for safety/welfare issues

  • All EPTS equipment must bear a minimum safety standard mark


  • Important statement that decisions made by match officials must always be respected
  • National FAs can allow temporary dismissals (sin bins) for some/all cautions (YC) in youth, veterans, disability and grassroots football (Guidelines for both systems will be published)
  • A medical official guilty of a dismissible offence may stay/treat players if no other medical person is available for the team


  • A short drinks break is permitted at half-time of extra time


  • Kicker can stand in the opponents’ half at the kick-off


  • Extra time must be two equal periods, maximum 15 minutes each

Kicks from the penalty mark (KFPM)

  • Corrected wording for goalkeeper who is unable to continue
  • Excluded player may replace a goalkeeper even if team has used all its permitted substitutes
  • Kicker may not play the ball a second time
  • A goalkeeper who offends and the penalty has to be retaken must be cautioned (YC)
  • If the kicker offends the kick is forfeited (recorded as ‘missed’)
  • If the goalkeeper and kicker offend at the same time:
    • retake and two cautions (YCs) if no goal is scored
    • if a goal is scored the kicker is cautioned (YC) and kick recorded as ‘missed’


  • An offside player can be penalised if the ball rebounds/deflects off a match official
  • Addition of ‘attempts to’ to the definition of a ‘save’
  • Offside guidance:
    • player in offside position who impedes an opponent must be penalised
    • a player in offside position who is fouled before committing an offside offence – foul penalised
    • player in offside position who is fouled when already committing an offside offence – offside penalised


  • Verbal offences are punished with an indirect FK
  • If an advantage is played for a sending-off (RC) and the player commits another offence, that offence is penalised
  • A player ‘stopping a promising attack’ in the penalty area is not cautioned (YC) if the offence was an attempt to play the ball
  • Addition to list of cautions (YCs) for a ‘denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity’ (DOGSO) offence in the penalty area which was an attempt to play the ball
  • Caution (YC) for goal celebration which causes safety/ security issue
  • If player moves diagonally to pass the last defender/goalkeeper this can still be a DOGSO
  • Clearer DOGSO wording for a penalty area offence which is an attempt to play the ball
  • Entering the field of play without permission and stopping a goal or DOGSO is a sendingoff
  • Off-field offence by/against a player involving opposing player/substitute/team official (or against a match official) is penalised by FK on the boundary line if the ball is in play
  • Direct FK for throwing or kicking ball/object onto the field to interfere with play/someone
  • Direct FK on boundary line for throwing or kicking ball/object at someone off the field


  • Attacker in or entering the penalty area before a defensive FK has left the area cannot

play or challenge for the ball until it has been touched by another player


  • Kicker must be clearly identified
  • If the goalkeeper and kicker offend at the same time:
    • retake and two cautions (YCs) if no goal is scored
    • if a goal is scored the kicker is cautioned (YC) and kick recorded as ‘missed’ (see Law 10)
  • Goal can be awarded after outside interference if the ball still goes in the goal


  • Attacker entering the penalty area cannot play or challenge for the ball until it is touched by another player

Details of all Law changes 2017/18

The following are the changes to the Laws of the Game for 2017/18. For each change the old wording (where appropriate) and the new/changed/additional wording are given, followed by an explanation for the change. The text shown in the ‘old text’ boxes may be the exact previous text or a more general outline of the meaning of the previous text.

Download the document with the details of all changes for 2017-2018.


  • Everton Cole

    I recently did a class where they were explaining the offside law and when is the player offside. My question is why confuse everyone with the wording “interfering with an opponent ” when the laws of the game already have an offence called “impeding the progress of the opponent” which can be used here ?

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Hi, these two things are a bit different.

      Impeding the progress of an opponent means moving into the opponent’s path to obstruct, block, slow down or force a change of direction when the ball is not within playing distance of either player.

      That’s a foul by itself. Interfering with play is described as below. And as you can see these things are not fouls by itself if for example done on their own half.

      It’s described as “preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by

      • clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or
      • challenging an opponent for the ball or
      • clearly attempting to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or
      • making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball

    I love it,am a referee in UGANDA and am happy to go through some of the changes in the laws of the game.Iam 22 years old and I love watching a referee handling a match and also officiating a match…I am looking for a friend who can help me to advance in refereeing and become like those i watch on television…..please help.My country and the Federation helps litle in developing core of referee for the young.

  • opusunju prinye

    I think new laws of the game is good but there should be a diagram to follow, especially the offside law and foul and misconduct . e.g impede an opponent without contact etc. up ref; fair play

  • Igbeke Michael

    Thanks for acquitting us with the new laws of the game, the amendment/changes in the 2017/2018 laws of the game.


    Thank you for your effort, that you did for the development of the referees.
    Dear Sir,, I am an Assistant Referee. Me and my colleagues are sending our monthly tests to our boss. But, we are sending the old laws of the game which is different from the new laws of the game. So, kindly I request you to send me the new laws of the game tests of Trivia, offside and Match Analysis .
    Thank you once again

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Hi, in September there will be new quizzes based on the 2017-2018 LOTG. In the summer I will check the quizzes of last season and change things based on the new Laws of the Game.

  • Tewodros Giday

    I have question mr. There was a suspended game due to chao & there were two players ban for 4 games. But, due to different situations the suspended game after 4 games want to continue. So, how can we start the remaining 16 minutes. With 9 players or 11. Thank you.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Hi, that really depends on the decision of the football association and the competition rules. Their verdict will tell you how play will be continued. But it’s uncommon that if two players got a red-carded during the game, the number of players will get back to 11. The only chance to play 11 vs 11 again is when the whole game needs to be replayed.


    Thank you for providing the laws and the amendments on time before commencement of the new season. I sincerely appreciate you.

  • buden

    have a quiz,what happens if a defending player denies the opponents a goal or a goal scoring opportunity through an indirect freekick offence?

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      See link in previous comment. There you get an e-mail notification when the season starts. If you read the newsletter you’ll get a weekly notification!

  • Ashu Paul

    I am very happy getting site where i can see question and answer on the laws of the game i am Ashu Paul a regional division two referee in cameroon but my country did not help regional referee so we can improve i am looking for some big referees who can help me to suitain my profession.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Hi Paul, thanks for your message and great to hear this helps you. The new quizzes will start on Friday 15th of September, so you can do new quizzes in a few days. I hope you appreciate them as well.

  • Joel canopin

    dear sir,
    good evening,
    I would to know the new amendments of laws of the game beside with new offside. can you assist us with my co referee in the Philippines.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      In this blog post all changes are mentioned, so if you learn these, you’re up to date. You can test the LOTG sessions via the quizzes I publish. The newest one will be online from 15th of September.


    I’m a retired referee from Sierra Leone 1989-2002, i really love u as a brother friend. My name is Toby, R, Jusu,leaving in Makeni City-The Northern part, i want to be communicating with you, i also ve two of my brothers that are referees. So please help me to get some referees kits, they are very hard to get in Sierra Leone-Makeni city.

  • Aaron A.M Banda

    Good morning sir,Am Aaron Banda in Zambia.I joined referee’s profession this year.Am benefiting your quizzes.Keep on with the good works.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      Hi Aaron, thanks for joining the referee family. Good to know these quizzes work for you. I hope they’ll keep helping you. All the best,

  • Aye Aye Maw

    Thank you Sir My name is Aye Aye Maw , in Myanmar since 2006 FIFA assistant referee , 2011 , 2013 referee AFF women champion ship , now not FIFA but I want to learn law of the game and questions and answers , video clip , offiside test I want to observe , if you help me , please ,¡ Sir

  • John Yegon Chepkeres

    Hi my fellow soccer lovers am a Match commissioner am very good in the field but when I sited for pet quiz I did poor what can I do to improve and make it good in all sector

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      I publish a quiz every week. Try to do the quiz every week or do some old quizzes. it wil help you practice and if you notice you make mistakes with some specific topics, check the Laws of the Game and find your answers or the missing information.

  • Adel Ali

    I am the referee in Yemen and I like to be a best referee in my life
    I have to pass the fitness test in Ogust to be an International assistant referee
    Could you please help me to put the plan of exercise throught three monthes

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      I am not a fitness instructor, so can’t write a full training schedule. Better ask a physical trainer for that.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      The foul is committed and an indirect free kick is awarded. Have you checked the Laws of the Game? You’ll find the answer there and the differnce between a IDFK for the defending (taken in whole area) or attacking team (on boundary line).

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