With another season having started late because of appeals and counter-appeals, the most significant of the changes is Rule 50, which relates to complaints of improper player registration.
According to the new rule, “if a complaint relates to the registration of a player, the complaint must be lodged no later than forty days after the date of the closure of the registration transfer window period during which that registration was made, or within forty days of the date of registration if such registration took place outside a transfer window.
It adds that “no complaint may be lodged more than five days after the last league fixture of the applicable Division”.
With regards to cup competitions, “Where the misconduct relates to a cup competition and the offending club has not yet been knocked out, the expulsion of the club from the competition. In such event the last club to have been defeated by the offending club will progress to the next round. Should the offending club have already won the competition such club will be stripped of the title and the medals, trophy and prize money will be returned to the League.”
The League has also got tough on medical facilities and help during matches, with the home clubs now having a lot more responsibility to organise a “fully qualified and appropriately insured paramedic” who “must be equipped with at least a fully stocked emergency care response bag, oxygen, rigid neck brace and an automatic external defibrillator”.
Furthermore, the home club must provide “a medical treatment and examination room”, “a minimum of two stretchers, two spinal immobilisation boards and eight appropriately trained stretcher bearers” and “a fully equipped, dedicated and appropriately insured ambulance which is suitable to carry an emergency casualty”.
Other rule changes related to player cautions and dismissals. Under the new laws, a player who accumulates four yellow cards for the first time in a season will sit out one match, and another for his second four cautions. However, another four yellows will earn him a three-match ban.
Any caution incurred during an abandoned game will be rescinded, but a red card will remain.
Finally, a change to the constitution will allow the League’s CEO to “order that a disciplinary matter, protest, complaint or appeal be referred directly to arbitration. In such event the decision of the arbitrator will be final.”
He also has power to reduce the time periods allowed for an appeal or a request for arbitration.