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All twenty Premier League clubs have met today and made decisions for next season regarding the number of substitutes permitted and the changes that will be introduced with Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

The easy one is the substitutes and that will return to how it was prior to Project Restart with seven players named on the bench with any three able to be used at any time during the game. When the clubs voted, nine were in favour of the increased numbers used more recently while eleven voted against it.

Last month, responsibility for VAR was transferred to FIFA having previously been under the jurisdiction of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and the Premier League will introduce the FIFA protocol next season after it was voted in unanimously.

The league have today outlined the three key areas that will see a difference in the way VAR is implemented next season.

Referee Review Area (RRA)
Increased use of the RRA, which will be used for subjective decisions in the three key areas – goals, red cards and penalty kicks.

Goalkeeper encroachment on penalty kicks
The protocol does not allow for tolerance levels, so if the goalkeeper saves a penalty and his foot is over the line then VAR will advise it is retaken. If the goalkeeper is off his line and the ball hits the post or goes over, it won’t be retaken unless the ‘keeper has a material impact on the kick being missed.

Player encroachment on penalty kicks
It is now judged on any part of a player’s body that is on the ground when the kick is taken. So if any part of the foot is on the penalty area or arc line it is encroachment. The player must still have a material impact on the outcome of the kick.

The protocol does not allow for tolerance levels.

Keeping the flag down for tight marginal offside offences
When an immediate goalscoring opportunity is likely to occur, the assistant referee will keep their flag down until the passage of play is completed. Once the goalscoring opportunity is complete, either a goal is scored or the chance is gone, the assistant will then raise the flag to indicate the initial offence. If a goal is scored the VAR will then review the offside judgement.

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