BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
With a number of changes to the FIFA Laws of The Game coming into effect for the 2019-20 season, Crystal Palace’s final match of the 2018-19 campaign, against Bournemouth on Sunday, is the last time the current set of rules will be used.
In another change, it will also be their last Premier League game without a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) present after the Premier League clubs agreed in principle, and subject to approval by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), at their shareholders’ meeting back in November to introduce VAR to the competition in the 2019/20 season.
“The bottom line is, it is nothing I can change,” said Palace manager Roy Hodgson about the updated FIFA Laws of The Game coming into play.
“Whether I think the rule changes are for the best or not for the best, it’s been decided. So, it will be a question, quite pragmatically, of coming to terms with it and making certain that we all understand and hopefully find solutions.
“I think I might worry about it when the time comes, because worrying on holiday about whether the rule changes are going to be advantageous to us or not I think I’ll wait, and then I’ll start thinking about it more when the time comes.”
One of the changes affects handball, with clarification surrounding the ‘deliberate’ or ‘non-deliberate’ handling of the ball. For Hodgson, he will take his post-season break and then use the start of pre-season in July to get his squad ready as they adapt to the updated rules.
“The handball one is going to be the major one (rule change),” explained Hodgson. “It’s going to involve a lot of players learning to run around like ducks with their hands behind their backs, and I don’t know quite how we’re going to come to terms with that.
“But I’ll worry about it from July 1 onwards. At the moment I’m expecting them (the players) to still try and block the ball as they always have done – with their body.”