Feigning injury, manager behaviour, offside - what's new?

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will need to behave themselves in their technical areas this season

New season; new signings, new kits, new rules.

As the English football season gets under way this weekend, players and staff will also have to come to terms with new disciplinary rulings, offside decisions and a brand new ball.

The biggest change in discipline sees players who feign injury to get an opponent sent off facing the prospect of being penalised themselves - while managers must adhere to a written code of conduct.

In an attempt to clarify the offside rule, new guidance means that players' "attempts to play a ball" or "impacting on an opponent playing the ball" from an offside position will now be flagged.

BBC Sport takes a look at the key changes for the 2015-16 season.

Feigning injury to get opponent sent off

What is new? A player who feigns injury could face a suspension.


  • Player A is sent off for violent conduct
  • Dismissal overturned after the referee reviews the incident and sees that Player B had feigned injury
  • Player B is open to a charge and could face a three-match ban
Andy Carroll
In February 2014, West Ham striker Andy Carroll was sent off after appearing to catch Swansea defender Chico Flores with his arm. Carroll's appeal was dismissed and the three-game ban stood
Chico Flores
If the ban had been overturned, Flores could now face a possible FA charge for feigning injury in order to get an opponent sent off

Code of conduct for technical area

What is new? A written code of conduct of what is expected of club staff in the technical area.


  • Manager kicks a bottle of water/waves imaginary yellow card/sarcastic clap.
  • First step: Warned about his conduct
  • Second step: Sent to the stand

Alternatively, incidents may be classed as "irresponsible" or "unacceptable" in the first instance, which would mean an immediate removal to the stand.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore told BBC Sport: "A bit of the soap opera is good. Clearly, if it oversteps the mark and gets into the unedifying category it needs to be dealt with.

"You are going to see a graded approach. It is not going to stop some of the fun and games but hopefully it should stop some of the unedifying moments."

Rui Faria is restrained by Jose Mourinho
In April 2014, Chelsea coach Rui Faria was sent to the stand by referee Mike Dean (left) having become incensed by the awarding of a penalty
Nigel Pearson grabs James McArthur by the throat
Then Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson avoided an FA charge last season after clashing with Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur

Surrounding match officials

What is new? Fewer players allowed to confront referee.


  • Two or more players approach the match official in a confrontational manner
  • Club face charge if the incident is reported by the referee

Previously, the guideline was three or more players, but that has now been reduced.

Aston Villa
Aston Villa were charged by the FA last season for failing to control their players against Manchester United

Offside law

What is new? The Premier League states:external-link "A player in an offside position shall be penalised if he; 1. Clearly attempts to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an opponent or; 2. Makes an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball."

West Brom boss Tony Pulis claims that the changes "muddy the waters even more".

"It is so ambiguous it is frightening," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"It is not a rule. A rule is black and white. Offside is not. It is going to be left to the referee's discretion."

Diego Costa
This incident, with Diego Costa attempting to strike - but missing - the ball, would now be flagged offside. Last season it was not and Chelsea scored from the rebound


2 December 2014: Manchester United 2-1 Stoke. Juan Mata's ball into the box is narrowly missed by Marcos Rojo - in an offside position - but the goal is awarded as he did not touch the ball.

What would happen now?

Marcos Rojo
There is a clear attempt to play the ball by Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo
Marcos Rojo
Although no contact is made with the ball, it was close enough to Rojo to impact on an opponent, in this case goalkeeper Asmir Begovic
Juan Mata
United would not be celebrating the goal as it would now be flagged offside

The ball

The Nike Ordem 3 will be used in the Premier League from this season, starting in the first match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (12:45 BST kick-off).

What is new about the ball? It looks like being good news for the goalkeepers. The manufacturers say it "delivers accurate flight, consistent touch and maximum visibility".

New Premier League ball
The new Premier League ball is not to be mistaken with Spiderman
Dan Walker
BBC Sport's Dan Walker is a fan of the new Mitre ball used in the Football League

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