MLS set to administer three new rules during match play

4.19 soccer balls

MLS will implement three new rules into match play beginning Saturday, April 20. The integration of the Off-Field Treatment Rule, Timed Substitution Rule and In-Stadium VAR Announcements will allow a more efficient environment for every matchday moving forward. 

Here are the reasonings behind the three new initiatives:

Off-Field Treatment Rule

Rather than treating a seemingly injured player on the pitch, the medical staff will now be able to bring them off the pitch for further assessment. This is to not only create less pressurized circumstances for the medical staff to treat a player but to also continue the match as quickly as possible. This only applies when a player is on the ground for 15 seconds or longer but is not required in situations involving serious medical events, goalkeeper injuries, potential head injuries or the initiation of a yellow or red card after a foul is given.

Timed Substitution Rule

After having success in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season, MLS decided to integrate the Timed Substitution Rule into its own league. This means that substitution exchanges will have a 10 second limit. If the exchange fails to be completed during that allotted timeframe, the incoming player will have to wait another 60 seconds before the next stoppage time and the substituting team will have to play down a man. This does not apply to injury or goalkeeper substitutions. 

In-Stadium VAR Announcements

Whether it be an explanation of a penalty kick call, or a goal that looked barely over the line, fans in the stadium and those watching the match on television will now have access to why certain decisions were made through the new In-Stadium VAR Announcements. After reviewing a specific play through the “Video Assistant Referee,” the head referee will relay the information they saw in the playback and provide their reasoning behind the final verdict.



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