2017 Laws of the Game

The International Football Association Board approved a series of changes to the Laws of the Game for competitions starting after 1 July 2016. Those changes can be found here.

The full Laws of the Game can be found here.

From the start of the 2017 football season, SSFRA referees will be expected to apply these law changes for the SSFA competition.

While the number of changes appears significant, in practice there are only a few changes that will affect matches week-to-week, the biggest being:

  • Kick-offs can now be kicked backwards or forwards;
  • A player who denies a goal scoring opportunity while making a genuine attempt at the ball inside the penalty area and without committing serious foul play is awarded a caution and not sent off (while wordy, just remember that the aim is to stop triple punishment of a penalty, red card and suspension - meaning fouls outside the area have not changed, horrible tackles endangering the safety of opponents are still send-offs and any act of gamesmanship such as holding, pushing, pulling or making no effort to win the ball while denying a goal scoring opportunity are still send offs);
  • It is now a Direct FK/ Penalty Kick if a sub interferes with play;
  • If a ball deflects off an outside agent and still goes into the goal, a goal can be awarded if the deflection had no impact on what would have happened anyway;
  • Players may return during play if they left the field for equipment reasons if the equipment has been checked by any match official;
  • Referee can send off players from the pre-match inspection onwards (but only use the RC/YC from entering the field before the match);
  • Players injured during a RC/YC foul no longer need to leave the field after receiving treatment;
  • Ball must clearly move for all restarts;
  • Referee must not manufacture the outcome of a drop ball;
  • Offside FKs to be taken from where offence occurred (even if now in own half);
  • Striking on head/face when not challenging an opponent is a RC (unless negligible);
  • Foul off the field while ball in play penalised with a direct FK on boundary line (penalty in own penalty area);
  • YCs for Goalkeepers who infringe at Penalty Kicks, YC and Indirect FK if the wrong player deliberately takes a Penalty Kick.
There are others, and you should review the link above, but this is a summary of some of the major changes. We will be providing more information as we get closer to the season.

In order to implement these changes, all current referees are required to undertake an online course and sit an examination in respect of the changes. The examination can be taken as many times as necessary. The pass rates are as follows:

Level 4 & Level 3: 70%
Level 2 & Level 1: 85%


Please click here to undertake the course and examination. As there is no scope to save and return to the page that you left, please ensure that you allow yourself approximately one hour to complete the course and examination.

The course and examination are there to assist referees in learning the new laws before the season starts. Do not be alarmed if you do not achieve a passing score. Feel free to contact the Branch Coach (branchcoach@ssfra.org.au) if you have any questions regarding the law changes.

There will be a meeting in February or March 2017 to run through the new laws in detail if you prefer face-to-face learning. You should have attempted the exam by the end of January.