Soccer

Champions League rule change which will affect Liverpool and Man Utd next season

The rules around penalty kicks will be changed in the Champions League next season as lawmakers shake things up in the competition.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United will be the four English representatives in the tournament for the 2020-21 campaign, and they will no doubt be swatting up on the new alterations before it all kicks off later this year.

The changes, announced by UEFA and sanctioned by the International Football Association Board, were actually introduced on June 1, which would have marked the official start date of the international 2020-21 campaign were it not for the coronavirus pandemic delaying things.

The most important rule change relates to penalties, and states that a goalkeeper will not be punished for a disruption if a penalty is missed or hits the woodwork as long as the offence did not clearly affect the taker of the spot kick.

The 'disruption' is thought to relate to a 'keeper creeping off his line when a kick is taken.

If it does affect the taker, the goalkeeper will be warned the first time and showed a yellow card if it happens again.

Roberto Rosetti, Uefa's chief refereeing officer, said: “In general, with the Laws of the Game, there are just a few minor changes.

“When the goalkeeper saves the kick [by encroaching], it’s not a caution for the first offence, but the keeper must be cautioned for any further offence.

“Most goalkeeper encroachment results from a mis-anticipation from the goalkeeper and small offences are now detected more with the technology, with the video assistant referee.”

Another significant rule change is that any yellow card handed out over 120 minutes will cease to be active if the game goes to a penalty shootout.

This means a goalkeeper could not be sent off for a second bookable offence during a shootout.

Rosetti added: "According to IFAB and according to the Laws of the Game, the kicks from the penalty mark are not part of the match – it’s just a way to determine the winner of the match.

“So, at the moment, if the goalkeeper has a yellow card from the match – from the match or from extra time – and then encroaches in the kicks from the penalty mark, of course, then he must be sent off.

“This would be more likely to occur now with VAR, and the goalkeeper can be penalised more than other players. We think that this is a good, important change.”

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