Manchester United and Manchester City are set to be impacted by six alterations to the laws of football next season.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which determines the game’s laws, has confirmed the changes. The most high-profile alteration sees the implementation of five substitutes made permanent.

The rule had initially been a temporary measure throughout the pandemic with IFAB later allowing competitions to adopt the option at their own discretion. However, Law 3 now sees the five-subs rule made a requirement.

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Teams can only make the changes at three separate points in the match, other than half-time and an injury stoppage. This is to avoid the game being broken up persistently.

A change to Law 14 sees goalkeepers now being allowed to have one foot behind the goal line during a penalty kick. There was uproar during the introduction of VAR, with numerous penalties having to be retaken when the technology adjudged goalkeepers to be narrowly off their line.

Some argued that it ultimately put goalkeepers at a disadvantage, despite being allowed to have one foot in front of the line. Now, IFAB has said shot-stoppers can have one foot behind the line, enabling them to spring forward better during a penalty.

On the subject of penalties, during a shoot-out team officials can now be booked and dismissed under Law 10. Two changes to Law 12 mean an indirect free-kick can be awarded from where a player exits the field if they assault an ‘outside agent’ such as a fan or a pitch invader.

This can only occur when the ball is in play, otherwise play restarts from where the preceding throw-in, free-kick, goal kick or penalty was awarded. The new-look Law 12 also tidies up any doubt that the goalkeeper is allowed to handle the ball inside the area amid a goalscoring opportunity – or namely that anyone but the goalkeeper cannot.

Finally, the most left-field change sees Law 8 change its terminology. The phrase ‘referee tosses the coin’ has been added to specifically outline who does the coin toss – beforehand, anyone could have conducted the pre-kick-off ritual.

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