A DROPPED ball is the method for restarting a game which has been stopped with the ball in play, for any reason other than an offence.

This may be things like an injury, or someone or something coming onto the field of play.

The ball will be in play when it touches the ground.

Over the years, for some inexplicable reason, the fashion has been not to contest it, but to kick the ball to the opposing goalkeeper.

In 2012 the law was changed to say a goal could not be scored directly from a dropped ball.

I queried with my contact at the IFAB what the word directly meant, as often players would kick the ball to one side, before kicking it to the goalkeeper.

I also asked if this change meant the IFAB preferred action at a dropped ball, was for the ball to be kicked to the goalkeeper. Absolutely not I was told.

The law was later changed to say a goal could not be scored until it had touched at least two people, but nothing to deter the kick to the goalkeeper.

This season, however, the changes to the Laws includes a completely new dropped ball situation.

Except for stoppage in the penalty area, the referee will drop the ball at the feet of any player from the team who last played the ball.

All other players of both sides must remain at least four yards away.

The player receiving the ball can kick it, dribble it or pass it to a teammate. One thing he cannot do with it, is score until it has touched a second player.

At a stoppage in the penalty area or when the ball was last played in the penalty area, the ball will be dropped at the feet of the goalkeeper, who can then without any challenge, catch it and play it as he wants.

I have to admit this is something I have done for many years, although slightly against the then law.

I'm glad the Law has now caught up with me.