6 rules to be aware of for the new League Two season


A new season is about to kick-off and so that obviously means some new rules and guidance have been issued by the EFL. How exciting.

As always, we’d expect the opening weekend to be packed full of this stuff being implemented, and by the end of August many of them have gone to the wall.

Multi-ball system

A big focus from the EFL this season is about increasing the time the ball is in play. So, a multi-ball system will be in use across the season. How ground-breaking.

Spare match balls will be placed on cones around the pitch. So, if a ball comes into a stand, throw it back to a ballboy, not onto the pitch.


Towels and other items used to dry balls before taking a throw-in are not allowed, including those offered by “spectators”, so leave your tea towels at home. We’re back to the days of players trying to dry the ball up their jersey before taking throw-ins.

Time added

Remember the farce of the World Cup in late 2022, when most games seemed to have in excess of 10 minutes of time added on? Well, get ready for the same in the EFL. If there is some nonsense to get involved with, the EFL are all over it. 

Again, with the focus on keeping the ball in play for longer during games, time will now be added for all manner of things. Specifically:

·        Goals

·        Goal celebrations

·        Substitutes

·        Injuries

·        Penalties (from moment of offence to the whistle for penalty kick)

·        Red card (from moment of offence to when player leaves the field)

You may be thinking; “well, it always was?”.

Correct, in some instances.

However, previously match officials would add a designated amount of time on for goals and subs, 30 seconds a pop.

Now, the officials will count the real time that is taken in each scenario. So, if there’s an entertaining 3-3 draw, we could be in our seats until well past 5pm for a 3pm kick-off.


The old special of players going down injured to waste time is also a thing of the past (as if). The new guidance state that players who require assessment for potential injury will have to be treated off the pitch. Unless:

·        A goalkeeper is injured.

·        A goalkeeper and an outfield player have collided and need attention.

·        Players from the same team have collided and need attention.

·        A severe injury has occurred.

·        A player is injured as the result of a physical offence for which the opponent is cautioned or sent off (e.g. reckless or serious foul challenge), if the assessment/treatment is completed quickly.

·        A penalty has been awarded and the injured player will be the taker.

So, expect to see goalkeepers getting ‘injuries’ late on in games when their team is clinging on for a win or a point. Same with phantom head injuries, we expect.

Once players have gone off for treatment, they will need to stay off the pitch for a minimum of 30 seconds. 

If a player rejects treatment from a physio or tries to delay the restart in some way, they will be booked.

This is all designed to deter players from feigning injury to waste time. 

Clarifying substitutions

Clubs in League Two will again be able to use five substitutes during a game in the 2022/23 season, though they can continue to name a maximum of seven subs on the bench. 

However, the subs still have to be used in a maximum of three slots during the game. For clarity, this means teams cannot make five separate substitutions. Clubs can pick three opportunities during the game to make changes.

If a team wishes to make a substitution at half-time, this does not count as one of those three opportunities. 

This in unchanged from last season, unlike Championship clubs who can name nine subs on their bench this season.

Preventing quick free-kicks

This counts for all free-kicks actually, but is most likely going to be obvious when players try the old trick of standing in front of the ball. 

The EFL states; “clear/deliberate actions that are impactful in delaying the restart of play, with players cautioned if they are guilty of delaying the restart and/or failing to respect the required distance at free-kicks.”

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