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Wigan Athletic Programme Notes


Laws of the Game


Chelsea’s goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga’s refusal to be substituted in the recent Carabao Cup Final defeat against Manchester City has caused strong words, such as “scary lack of respect”. A “man in the pub” told me that the referee should have sent him off, but he did not actually break any rules. The Rules for substitution says the following:-

To replace a player with a substitute, the following must be observed:

  • the referee must be informed before any substitution is made
  • the player being substituted receives the referee’s permission to leave the field of play, unless already off the field
  • the player being replaced is not obliged to leave on the halfway line and takes no further part in the match, except where return substitutions are permitted
  • if a player who is to be replaced refuses to leave, play continues

So, no action is taken if a player refuses to leave.

Also note that a player does not have to leave at the halfway line, but inevitably does if 1-0 up and it is in the 90th minute! However, for 2019-2020 this will be different with a change to the laws, insisting that from now players must leave the field at the nearest boundary line in order to avoid time-wasting. It should be fun having to leave behind the goal at the away end.

Other Changes

FIFA have also announced the following rule changes for 2019-2020:

Officials can no longer award goals that have been influenced by a handball, even if accidental. In the same way, to create an opportunity for a goal after having benefitted from a handball will no longer be allowed, even if accidental. I can see VAR being overworked on this.

From next season, goalkeepers will only need to have one foot on the goal-line for penalties.

Another change has been made, explaining that it is no longer a requirement that the ball should leave the area during a goal kick before another player touches it, a good move as this is an annoying stoppage.

And lastly, and I cannot get my head round this one, additional changes to approved laws have introduced measures to deal with attacking players who commit fouls in the defensive wall during free-kicks. Attacking players will now have to stand one metre away from the defensive wall at free-kicks. What next, defenders not allowed in the box at corners?

STAR Events

Many thanks to Jose Gomes for a great evening at the Fans Forum on 28 February. The next event is STAR’s Reading FC Hall of Fame on Sunday 17 March 7pm in the Princess Suite. All welcome, entry free.

Introducing Kevin Lenton

Kevin Lenton is a STAR Board Member, season ticket holder and supporter for 52 years. He is married and lives in Wokingham where he is an Executive Committee member of the Wokingham Society. Kevin is also a Committee Member of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) Berkshire South East Branch.