The new Premier League season kicks off today with Everton in action in Saturday evening’s highlight game as they host Chelsea at Goodison Park, the scene of one of the most emotional outpourings we have seen in a long, long time near the end of the last season.
The pitch invasion when Everton scored to take a 3-2 lead against Crystal Palace with just minutes to play and to secure their Premier League future, followed by the subsequent mass flooding of the pitch by fans at the final whistle is no longer going to be allowed, and you can expect both clubs and supporters to be hit hard in the future.
Here’s a quick list of all seven rule changes that have been made by the Premier League, including notes on how they will affect the Blues.
This was brought in during the COVID-struck closed-doors season as players needed more recovery time due to the packed schedule. The bigger clubs with larger squads have finally had their way as now they can fully weaponize their spending power. The message to clubs like Everton is, grow your own squads with quality backups or else perish.
The size of the bench will also grow as a result of this move, with twenty players in all now in matchday squads, nine aside from the starting eleven. However, those five subs will still need to be made at the same three intervals of play to restrict disruption to the game and limit time-wasting.
Balls, Balls Everywhere
The balls for the Premier League season are provided by Nike — the “Flight” is designed with the same colour scheme as the first Premier League ball 30 years ago.
In another move to combat time-wasting and game disruption, the fourth official will have a match ball with him at all times, with a further eight balls placed all around the pitch including two behind each goal.
Clearly someone was irritated by what this heroic Everton fan did against Chelsea last season in the crucial 1-0 win.
Where's the ball gone?! ♂️— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 1, 2022
This Everton fan was doing everything in his powers to run down the clock in stoppage time ⏱ pic.twitter.com/Cx8QTMilUU
Bans, Suspensions and Worse Incoming
The Premier League wants to ensure that any fireworks at games are made and stay on the pitch. This means they are mandating the clubs to take action on fans bringing in pyrotechnics, smoke bombs, etc by banning them from games.
It’s not just that though. For the safety of the players, staff and other fans too, strong punishments will be levied on any fans that step on the pitch as it’s considered a criminal offence. It’s not clear whether match stewards are going to get additional help in these situations from law enforcement, but the message is clear - do not step on the pitch, do not send your kids on the pitch, just don’t do it.
Everton have asked their supporters to follow along the new rules, and a number of supporters associations have cosigned that as well.
Winter World Cup
The season is getting underway a week earlier than usual to accommodate for the winter break since World Cup 2022 has been moved to later in the year. The season will go into a pause on November 12th, and only resume again on Boxing Day.
Everton will not have too many players heading to Qatar, but the remainder of the side will head off on a winter break tour to Australia where they will play two games during the summer down under. The Blues will be a part of the Sydney Super Cup, taking on Celtic on Sunday 20th November and then Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday 23rd November, with the global tourney kicking off on the 21st.
As a result of this, there will be only one international break this autumn instead of the usual three, coming in mid-September. With Dominic Calvert-Lewin scheduled to be out for about six weeks, it’s likely we’ll only see him on the pitch again after that break.
Goalie Rules for Penalties
Previous regulations stipulated that goalkeepers needed to have at least one foot on the goal line before a spotkick is taken, which seemed to affect a lot of shotstoppers who like to throw themselves around. The new rule will allow them to step into their goal to build up momentum to make a save, as long as they don’t step forward past the line before contact is made by the kicker with the ball.
It’s a Toss-up
Strange rule that no one really cared about and somehow needed to be reiterated. The rule states that the referee has toss the coin before a match. Can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone but a referee do the toss, so this one is weird.
It’s The Under-21s Now
In case you’ve been reading our youth team coverage and wondering why we’ve been calling the team the Under-21s and not the Under-23s, this is why. From this season on the competition will officially be for under-21s, although five outfield over-age players can feature instead of three to enable those coming back from injury to gain some sharpness as they return. For example, Seamus Coleman will be featuring for the Under-21s against Blackburn today as he attempts to get back to match fitness.