Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
IN a bid to keep journalists abreast of new football regulations, the Sports Journalists Association Southern Region (SPOJA-S) held an Amended Football Laws workshop at Queens Sports Club at the weekend.
The workshop, facilitated by ZIFA Southern Region referees’ instructor Sabelo Sibindi, was attended by sports writers from the region.
Sibindi said journalists play an essential role in enlightening the public about the updated football laws.
“As referees we cannot talk to the fans directly, the fans rely on what the media says. It is therefore important to have journalists interacting with journalists to discuss laws of the game. That way the fans can get clear and accurate explanations of laws from the media,” Sibindi said.
Football is set for rule changes next season after the International Football Association Board approved a number of amendments and clarifications to the current Laws of the Game.
The changes came into force on June 1, 2019, although competitions starting before that date have the option to delay their introduction until the next season.
Sibindi highlighted that the updated laws of the game are hinged on player behaviour, respect and playing time. Each of the updated laws are linked to those three pillars.
Among the updated laws are players being substituted leaving the field at the nearest exit point on the boundary line unless the referee allows the player to leave quickly or immediately at the halfway line.
In order to clamp down on difficult behaviour from coaches who don’t see eye to eye with the referee or their opposite number, referees will issue yellow or red cards in the same way they do to players.
The current drop ball procedure is unsatisfactory as it often leads to confrontation or a ‘manufactured’ restart which is exploited unfairly like kicking the ball out for a throw in deep in the opponents’ half.
The new procedure is for the drop ball to be uncontested, it will be dropped for only one player and all other players must remain at least four metres away.
The IFAB has approved a rule change which prohibits attacking players standing on the opponents defence wall. Specifically when there is a wall of three or more players, attackers are not allowed within one metre of it.
Spoja chairman Muziwethu Hadebe said: “As Spoja we are excited as we learnt a lot from the workshop. It will help us in the coverage of football in the country. We will continue equipping our members with such workshops and not only limited to football, but all other sports. We take this opportunity to thank Sibindi for a detailed presentation. We also extend our thanks to Queens Sports Club who provided the venue, Spoja members who attended the workshop and LG Foods who were also part of the sponsors in terms of logistics and refreshments for this workshop.”