VAR has already been used in domestic cup competitions but will be introduced in the Premier League this season
With the 2019/20 Premier League season kicking off on Friday, we take a look at the new rules, teams, players – plus much more – that you need to know.
As ever, you can follow all the twists and turns of the new campaign across Sky Sports, with 128 live matches plus all the best features, interviews and analysis across our digital platforms, plus in-game clips and match highlights.Here is what you can look forward to for the new Premier League season… Ready for VAR?Strap yourselves in everyone – VAR is coming to the Premier League. It has already provided many a controversial moment, and this season will likely be no different. 1:06 Former Premier League referee Mike Riley tells Sky Sports News that VAR is “minimum interference and maximum benefit”, and that clubs have been positive about its imminent introduction Former Premier League referee Mike Riley tells Sky Sports News that VAR is “minimum interference and maximum benefit”, and that clubs have been positive about its imminent introduction Premier League clubs voted to introduce VAR from the start of 2019/20 last November with goals, penalties, red cards and cases of mistaken identity taken on by the technology.Each referee will be supported by a team of VAR assistants at Stockley Park, the Premier League match officials’ base, who will advise them on those situations, but they will also be able to review decisions through a television screen on the touchline.Referees will also be able to make players return to the pitch even if they have already blown the half-time or full-time whistle, if they use the VAR review monitor to overturn a decision made before the half had ended.To aid communication within stadiums, graphics will also be displayed to explain when a decision is being reviewed – and as appropriate and where possible, the Premier League has announced video clips will be shown on screens to explain the reasons behind a decision being made too. 0:46 Referees chief Mike Riley says Premier League referees’ conversations won’t be audible to supporters following the introduction of VAR, but it could happen in the future Referees chief Mike Riley says Premier League referees’ conversations won’t be audible to supporters following the introduction of VAR, but it could happen in the future Other rulesIt’s not just VAR that is changing the game, there are a number of other rule changes taking effect this season:Handball – If a player deliberately touches the ball they are penalised, but a foul will also be given if they create a chance or score a goal from an accidental handball. Any incident where a player’s arms have been raised above shoulder-height is also likely to be given, or if they have made their body ‘unnaturally’ bigger.However, if the ball hits a player’s hand or arm from close-range, their arm is close to the body or used to support their body while falling will usually not be punished. Handball incidents will have greater clarity next season, with unintentional offences now included Substitutions – Players must leave the pitch by the nearest point on the touchline unless the referee allows them to leave on the half-way line for safety or injury reasons.Goal kicks – The ball is in play from the moment it is kicked and moves. Opposition players still in the area because they have not had time to leave are permitted, and can intercept the goal kick.Yellows and reds – If the attacking team wishes and the referee has not started to issue the card, they can take a quick free-kick at this point so long as it creates a goalscoring opportunity. The referee will then issue the card when the ball next goes out of play.However, if the referee was about to send off the player who has given away the foul for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, they will only receive a yellow card if the attacking team takes the quick free-kick. Rules on red and yellow cards will also be changing this season Dropped balls – If a dropped ball is given inside either penalty area, it is dropped for the defending team’s goalkeeper when play restarts.For dropped balls outside the penalty area, the ball is dropped for a player on whichever team last touched the ball. All other players must remain at least 4.5 yards away from the ball until play restarts.Back in the big time Aston Villa won the Championship play-off final at Wembley to make it back to the Premier League Aston VillaA Wembley win for Aston Villa has seen them back in the Premier League this season with Dean Smith and John Terry at the helm.Credit to Aston Villa too, they have been doing some great transfer business. Anwar El Ghazi and Tyrone Mings have re-joined the club on a permanent basis, supplemented by some young English talent in Matt Target and Ezri Konsa, along with Wesley and Trezeguet.With the core of last season’s squad still intact, Aston Villa will be wanting to make a big impact to re-establish themselves in England’s top flight.Norwich City Star striker Teemu Pukki has signed a new deal with Norwich Get the inflatable canaries out, Norwich City are back in the Premier League – and they made it as Sky Bet Championship winners. They were promoted five points ahead of Sheffield United, and despite only three new bodies coming in, they have extended the contracts of some key players.Mario Vrancic, Emi Buendia and – perhaps most importantly – last season’s Sky Bet Championship Player of the Season, Teemu Pukki, have all extended their stays at Carrow Road with Premier League football on the horizon.Sheffield United 0:34 Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp says the Blades want to become an established Premier League side and believes Chris Wilder’s team can hold their own in the top flight Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp says the Blades want to become an established Premier League side and believes Chris Wilder’s team can hold their own in the top flight After a 12-year absence, the Blades are back in the Premier League. They battled with Leeds United throughout the season for second place but a 2-0 win against Ipswich Town on April 27 – followed by Leeds’ controversial 1-1 draw with Aston Villa the next day – sealed an automatic return for Chris Wilder’s side.There have been a few left-field signings for Sheffield United, with former Manchester United and West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison signing a one-year deal after a successful trial and 36-year-old Phil Jagielka re-joining the club after 12 years with Everton.Perhaps their most exciting incomer is Dean Henderson, who returns to the club on loan from Manchester United. Couple this with the talents of Oli McBurnie and Callum Robinson, and Sheffield United are giving themselves the best chance of Premier League survival.The men in charge Frank Lampard and Jody Morris will take the reins at Chelsea this season Frank LampardA young whippersnapper in his managerial career, all eyes will be on Frank Lampard as he takes charge of his beloved Chelsea in a bid to get them back to the top. He did well at Derby, leading them to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final, but Stamford Bridge is a whole other challenge.He has inherited a tricky situation, with a transfer ban in place and Chelsea’s star player, Eden Hazard, moving to Real Madrid. But Lampard – along with his assistant, Jody Morris – have a track record of sourcing young talent and may need to rely on the club’s extensive academy to help them. 3:30 Jose Mourinho says Frank Lampard has ‘the potential’ to be a success at Chelsea and believes their only problem has been losing Eden Hazard Jose Mourinho says Frank Lampard has ‘the potential’ to be a success at Chelsea and believes their only problem has been losing Eden Hazard One thing is for certain: it will be very exciting to see Lampard on the touchline as the Chelsea manager with a meeting with former team-mate and good friend John Terry on the cards later in the season.Steve BruceIn contrast to Lampard, Steve Bruce is a Premier League old hat. He has managed Birmingham, Wigan, Sunderland and Hull in the top flight and is about to have another crack at it with Newcastle. 4:46 Steve Bruce spoke exclusively to Sky Sports News after arriving in China to begin work as Newcastle’s new head coach Steve Bruce spoke exclusively to Sky Sports News after arriving in China to begin work as Newcastle’s new head coach Bruce replaced the outgoing Rafa Benitez in July and while his arrival was hardly heralded, he quickly smashed the club’s transfer record, bringing in striker Joelinton from Hoffenheim for £40m. It will go some way to replace the attackers who have left this summer.It remains to be seen how Bruce will set up at St James’ Park and if the fans will warm to him, but there is no doubting that they have a very experienced head to guide them through the season.The new faces After much speculation, Nicolas Pepe joined Arsenal for a club-record fee The summer transfer window has been as busy as ever with some really exciting talent set for the Premier League this season.Despite a transfer ban, Christian Pulisic has finally arrived at Chelsea with Mateo Kovacic making his stay permanent, while Premier League holders Manchester City have added Rodri to their ranks. Tottenham have also opened their wallets for the first time in 18 months, smashing their club record fee for Tanguy Ndombele.Newcastle and West Ham have also broken their club records – for Joelinton and Sebastien Haller respectively – along with the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Pablo Fornals. Manchester United have bought in young talent in Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, although the latter already has a season and a half of Premier League football under his belt. Daniel James has impressed in pre-season for Man Utd Arsenal have also been doing good business, bringing in Nicolas Pepe for a club record fee and Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid. Wolves have – crucially – made Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker permanent signings.Everton have also purchased Andre Gomes after a successful loan spell from Barcelona, with more impressive signings in Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Moise Kean joining him in the dressing room. Some familiar Premier League names in Ayoze Perez and Jay Rodriguez have also signed – or re-signed in Rodriguez’s case – for Leicester and Burnley respectively.There will also be the chance to catch some of the Sky Bet Championship’s most exciting talents at new clubs, with former Birmingham forward Che Adams moving to Southampton and Lloyd Kelly signing for Bournemouth from Bristol City.Dressing for the occasion Liverpool unveiled their new 2019/20 kit towards the end of last season A new season inevitably means a raft of new home, away and third kits for each Premier League club – that’s a whopping 60 new designs available for the 2019/20 campaign.There are new styles, new collaborations and plenty of inspiration for Premier League clubs, with Liverpool, Leicester and Crystal Palace already debuting their new kits in their final games of last season.Take a look at all the new Premier League home and away kits HERE and you can also have your say on the best home strips for the upcoming season.New balls please!Who doesn’t enjoy a new football for a new season?For the 2019/20 campaign, the Premier League will be using the new Nike Merlin 2019. Marking 20 years of partnership, the ball is the first that is solely produced for the Premier League, facilitating the league’s trademark fast pace. It also features a bold pink and black design, which Nike says ‘is inspired by the dynamism of the league and its vibrant fan culture’.Watch more games this season for less with our Total Football Offer. Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Premier League channels for just £18 extra a month! Soccer Saturday Super 6 is Back FREE TO PLAY: £2m jackpot if £2m Players Enter