Laws of the Game Updates 2023-2024

Every year the International Football Association Board (IFAB) reviews possible changes to the Laws of the Game (LOTG). Their decisions are responses to trends or unique events in professional matches, and often do not directly apply to AYSO matches. The goal of the IFAB is to keep the game equitable, safe, and enjoyable. The AYSO National Referee Council believes one of the ways we continue to deliver a quality referee program is to emphasize continuing education for our referees, instructors, and assessors. Each year when the IFAB modifies the LOTG, the National Referee Council oversees the review and updates all training materials and supporting documentation to ensure that we are aligned with the new Laws and any updates from the AYSO National Rules and Regulations. Below are the seven changes which apply to our games.

As with all LOTG changes, these will be in effect on July 1, 2023.

Law 3 – Extra Person on the Field
“Clarification that the referee should take action against an extra person on the field of play when a goal is scored only if the person affected the play, e.g. the Law does not expect the referee to penalize encroachment onto the field of play if it does not impact the play.”

Law 7 – Time Lost
Goal celebrations in professional matches have increased in time so it is now separately listed as a reason to add time to the half.  Delay to a restart due to “interference by an outside agent” has been added as a reason to add time as well.  Most Regions and tournaments do not allow for time to be added to a game due to the close kick offs of the matches.

Law 10 – KFTPM
The phrase “kicks from the penalty mark” has been changed to “penalties or (penalty shoot-out).”  The IFAB felt the term was outdated and rarely used. Also, warnings and cautions issued to “players and team officials (coaches)” during the match are not carried forward into penalties. The Laws did not explicitly state “players and team officials (coaches)” in the language.

Law 11 – Deliberately Played
New guidelines have been added to clarify “deliberately played” by a defensive player versus a deflection in offside situations. This Law change is the most detailed for the year and should be read over carefully. No change has been made to offside and now we have specific language for judging deliberate play. In the youth game, most play should not be judged closely to the Laws as the kids are developing skills and playing under nervous pressure at times.

Law 12 – SPA and DOGSO cautions
The Laws have added that a “challenge for the ball” is the same as an attempt to play the ball. So, for DOGSO and SPA situations where a penalty kick is awarded the same principle applies. Again, in the youth game, we do not always need to follow the letter of the Law and awarding a penalty kick would be enough.

Law 12 – Coach caution
Clarification that the senior team official can be sanctioned only for an offence committed by an ‘unidentified offender’ who is in/from the technical area, i.e. this does not apply to an offence committed by an ‘unidentified player’.

Law 14 – GK behavior
The Laws have added “the goalkeeper must not behave in a way that unfairly distracts the kicker, e.g. delay the taking of the kick or touch the goalposts, crossbar or goal net.” The language has been added to make sure the goalkeeper show respect for the game and the opponent during a penalty kick.

The remaining two changes involve the additional duties of the reserve additional referee and VAR protocol. Those interested can read about them in the IFAB documents available online at

Please be sure to review and apply the new rules prior to your first match this fall. Your Region should offer an Annual Review for returning referees prior to the start of the fall season. This is a good time to review the Laws and reconnect with your referee community, so please consider attending. At any time, you can also go to to download official documents as well as, adding the IFAB app to your phone.