The following Playing Rule changes which were passed at Congress on 14 April 2012 and are to be be implemented in Football competitions from 14 May.
Football Only – “Square Ball”
This has been amended to allow a player enter the small rectangle once the final deliberate play of the ball has been made, i.e as soon as the player kicks, hand-passes, fist passes or deliberately flicks the ball into the small rectangle then the attacking player may enter.
The rule is unchanged with regard to “Set Play” i.e. Free Kicks, Line Balls and 45s – in these instances players are not permitted to enter the small rectangle before the ball.
The formal text of the new rule is as follows .
Rule 4.9 Official Guide Part 2 – Rules of Foul Play – Rule 4 Technical Fouls:
“For an attacking player to enter opponents’ small rectangle:
(a) During Play (excluding Set Play), before the final play of the ball into the small rectangle
(b) In Set Play, before the ball enters the small rectangle.
(i) If an attacking player legally enters the small rectangle, and the ball is played from that area but is returned before the attacking player has time to leave the area, provided he does not play the ball or interfere with the defence, a foul is not committed.
(ii) When a point is scored from outside the small rectangle and the ball is sufficiently high to be out of reach of all players, the score shall be allowed even though an attacking player may have been, otherwise illegally, within the small rectangle before the ball – provided that the player in question does not interfere with the defence.”
NB This does NOT apply to games played under the auspices of the Ladies Football Association.