• The Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup 2017 will take place in Zurich from 24-25 May
  • Experimental trials will be conducted, including different order of kickers for penalty shoot-outs and substituted players being required to leave the pitch at nearest point on the touchline or goal line
  • The trials are part of a strategy for the 2017 to 2022 period that was approved at The IFAB’s Annual General Meeting in March 2017

The Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup 2017 being played on 24 and 25 May in Zurich will feature some experimental trials regarding the Laws of the Game, including a different order of kickers in penalty shoot-outs and substituted players being required to leave the pitch at the nearest point on the touchline or goal line.

The trials are part of a strategy for the 2017 to 2022 period that was approved at The IFAB’s Annual General Meeting on 3 March 2017. The aim is to promote fairness and integrity, ensure that the game is accessible to everyone and embrace technological advances while guarding against technology-related threats. The first stage of discussions and trials will focus on improving player behaviour and respect, increasing playing time and making the game fairer and more attractive. The full strategy will be launched in the coming weeks.

“FIFA are happy to contribute to the trials by experimenting with some of them during certain competitions,” says Marco van Basten, FIFA’s Chief Technical Development Officer. “It’s important to learn from experience in competitions and to see how players, coaches, referees and also fans perceive these trials. Their feedback is crucial to the decision as to whether or not to make changes to the Laws of the Game in this regard.”

Different organisations and competitions will be involved in the experimental trials of new rules.

Experimental trials to be conducted at the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup 2017

- A different order of kickers for penalty shoot-outs: as part of The IFAB’s “play fair” initiative, a different order of kickers will be trialled in an experiment to reduce any advantage the team taking the first kick may have. In simple terms, the team taking the first kick in each pair of kicks will alternate as follows:
• 1st kick – team A 2nd kick – team B
• 3rd kick – team B 4th kick – team A
• 5th kick – team A 6th kick – team B
• 7th kick – team B 8th kick – team A
• 9th kick – team A 10th kick – team B
• 11th kick – team B 12th kick – team A and so on….

- A substituted player will be required to leave the field at the nearest point on the touchline or goal line (to reduce the time lost/”wasted” by the player walking slowly to the halfway line).

- At goal kicks and when the defending team has a free kick in their penalty area, the ball will be in play when it is kicked and moves, i.e. there will be no requirement for the ball to leave the penalty area before the defenders can play it – this is to encourage a faster and potentially more constructive restart of play.

In addition, FIFA will give referees in their 2017 tournaments clear instructions relating to:
• Mobbing of match officials (including captains taking a more proactive and positive role)
• Increasing playing time by a more accurate calculation of additional time
• The goalkeeper holding the ball for more than six seconds

“We are really looking forward to the trials during the Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup,” says Van Basten. “Our goal is to make football fairer and more attractive. We are happy to have the opportunity to test these aspects during the prestigious youth tournament in Zurich.”