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2001 Comments on the Rules - Soccer


Rule 3-3-4

With substitutions freely allowed on a throw-in, permitting both teams to substitute at the same stoppage of play will increase the amount of playing time.  This will improve the flow of the game by cutting down on the number of times substitutions are made.  Substitutions must have reported to the scoring table before the dead ball occurs.  The defending team may not send a substitute to the scoring table after the dead ball occurs just because the team in possession has a substitute ready to enter the game. 

Rule 3-3-7 and 3-3-8

Clarifies when a legal player may enter or re-enter the game when their team is playing short for reasons other than misconduct.  Previously it was not clear when a player could re-enter the game in various situations when a team was playing short.  

Rule 4-1-1c

Simplifies the rule by eliminating specifications and taking into consideration new technology in shoe design and construction. The NFHS Soccer Rules Committee is concerned about the safety of the players first and encourages coaches and officials to properly inspect cleats on shoes to be certain they are safe for play.  Over time cleats can become worn or jagged and become dangerous for play. 

Rule 4-2-1g

Technology today has enabled manufacturers to design safe braces specifically for athletes.  The NFHS Soccer Rules Committee is concerned about the safety of the player first and foremost and recognizes that altering the brace may void its effectiveness. Sleeves designed for the brace the player is wearing are legal.  

Rule 5-3-1

This change allows state high school associations more freedom to determine the officials’ shirts.  The NFHS Soccer Rules Committee wants to clarify that each state association should determine the color of the officials’ shirts in its state.  The old language appeared more like a mandate than a guideline.  The committee strongly suggests that only NFOA or state association logos be permitted on officials’ shirts.  

Rule 12-7-1

This change means that time wasting by the goalkeeper with the ball in his/her hands or arms is now measured in time rather than distance. The rule no longer limits the goalkeeper to taking four steps when he/she has control/possession of the ball in his/her arms or hands.  The goalkeeper is allowed to carry the ball for a  maximum of six seconds, but may take as many steps as he/she chooses within this period of time.  

Rule 15-1-2

Removes the requirement that referees judge if both hands have been used equally.  This rule change brings back into focus the key elements of the throw-in, which are the player facing the field of play behind the touchline, the use of both hands (unless the player has only one hand), and delivering the ball from behind the head in one continuous motion.


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