The New Rules in MLS

Measures aimed at enhancing the game's dynamics
Philadelphia Union v Atlanta United FC
Philadelphia Union v Atlanta United FC / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Major League Soccer (MLS) recently announced a series of new rules aimed at optimizing the dynamics of the soccer game and reducing unnecessary interruptions. These changes, which will come into effect starting this Saturday (20), represent a promising approach to modern soccer, prioritizing fluidity and transparency on the field.

One of the most significant measures is the introduction of 'off-field treatment.' From now on, if a player remains on the ground for more than 15 seconds, the game will be automatically stopped, and medical personnel will be called upon to provide assistance. This initiative aims to discourage simulation and encourage a more honest posture from players, while ensuring that those who truly need medical attention receive prompt assistance. Additionally, by stipulating a minimum time of 2 minutes for off-field treatment, the MLS seeks to prevent teams from taking advantage of these interruptions to waste time or disrupt the game's rhythm.

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Another important change concerns 'timed substitution.' Now, when a player is substituted, they will have only 10 seconds to leave the field; otherwise, the team making the substitution will be penalized with a one-minute wait before the substitute can enter the field. This measure aims to end scenes of players walking slowly toward the sideline to be substituted, which often results in precious minutes being wasted. With this rule, a faster and smoother transition between players is expected, keeping the game moving and reducing lost time.

Finally, the announcement that VAR reviews will be shown on screens and explained by referees represents a significant step toward transparency and understanding of decisions made with the aid of technology. VAR has been a controversial tool since its introduction, with many criticisms related to a lack of communication and clarity regarding referees' decisions. By allowing viewers to see the reviews and hear referees' explanations, the MLS is demonstrating a commitment to transparency and accountability, essential elements for credibility and integrity.