What's new in the Premier League this season

Premier League flag

With a new Premier League season on the horizon, there are plenty of new things to look out for - and not just fresh players, kits and teams.

As well as imports into the division, such as Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner and Marquinhos, and promoted sides Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest to face, there have been a few other things that might catch your eye when the action unfolds this weekend.

Get up to speed ahead with all the changes ahead of the big kick-off:

Five substitutions

Arsenal make a substitution

The number of permitted changes in a match will be increased from the start of this campaign to five.

However, substitution opportunities will be allowed on three occasions during a match, with an additional opportunity at half-time. 

Another thing to look out for is that a total of nine substitutes can be named on the teamsheet, up from seven last season.

Match officials

Tom Bramall

Following the retirements of Mike Dean, Jonathan Moss and Martin Atkinson, Tom Bramall has been promoted from the EFL to be the man in the middle for Premier League matches.

There will also be some new faces on the touchlines at Emirates Stadium this term, with Natalie Aspinall, Nick Greenhalgh and Steve Meredith added to the pool of assistant referees.

Penalty rules

Aaron Ramsdale celebrates

The law around goalkeepers facing penalties has been changed to: "When the ball is kicked, the defending goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot touching, or in line with, or behind, the goalline."

Previously the goalkeeper was required to have part of at least one foot on/above the goalline at the moment when a penalty, or kick from the penalty mark, was taken.

Consequently, if the goalkeeper had one foot in front of the goalline and one behind it, this was technically an offence even though no unfair advantage was gained.

Change in offside 

Assistant referee flags for offside

IFAB, football's law-making body, has clarified the offside rule, explaining what constitutes defending players "deliberately playing" the ball, making clear that an attacking player who is offside will not automatically become onside upon a defender touching the ball, unless it was a save.

"'Deliberate play' is when a player has control of the ball with the possibility of passing the ball to a team-mate, gaining possession of the ball, or clearing the ball," IFAB's clarified guidelines state.

"If the pass, attempt to gain possession or clearance by the player in control of the ball is inaccurate or unsuccessful, this does not negate the fact that the player 'deliberately played' the ball."

Taking the knee

Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard take the knee

After discussions with their teammates, Premier League club captains have decided to use specific moments during the upcoming campaign to take the knee, to amplify the message that racism has no place in football or society.

Players will take the knee during the opening and last matches of the season, dedicated No Room for Racism match rounds in October and March, Boxing Day and the FA Cup and EFL Cup finals.

Multi-ball system

A ball boy at Emirates Stadium

In an attempt to cut down on time wasting and improve the amount of time the ball is in play, a multiball system will be introduced. Ten match balls will be used, with one on the pitch, one with the fourth official and eight positioned on cones around the pitch next to a ball assistant.

This move should mean the ball is returned into play quicker, and referees have been instructed to keep an eye on this and issue yellow cards if necessary, or return to the one-ball system if they feel the multi-ball system is being abused by the home team.

Premier League 2

Mehmet Ali

From the start of this season, Premier League 2 will become an Under-21 competition.

The amendment to the age limit, which was previously Under-23, has been introduced to better align with the EFL Trophy and international competitions.

That means that Mehmet Ali will be permitted to use five (previously three) over-age outfield players and one over-age goalkeeper, in order to transition from the Under-23 format.

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