THERE is one humorous change included in this year’s 27 changes to the Laws of the Game.

I say humorous because it brings a smile to those referees who have been officiating for some years.

The change is to the Law about the toss of a coin to start the game.

The Law now says the team winning the toss has the choice of taking kick-off or deciding which way to kick in the first half.

The smile is because that’s exactly what the law always said until 1997.

Then for some obscure reason the International FA Board decided that the winner of the toss could only chose which way to kick and the other team automatically had the kick-off.

I think to be honest; it was one of those changes which bi-passed many referees.

For years after the change I found most skippers winning the toss would say ‘We’ll have kick-off,’ and were surprised when I said, ‘you don’t have that choice’.

So why has it suddenly changed now?

From the explanation by the International FA Board, it seems they have suddenly twigged a goal can be scored direct from a kick-off (as it always could).

They say the team winning the toss may decide to choose to kick-off as a tactical move so they can go for goal.

It’s certainly happened to me a couple of times.

On the first occasion the opposing players asked for an explanation.

‘Can they do that ref,’ they asked.

On the second occasion, the opposing team created an outcry against my decision to allow the goal.

I think, however, that the reason most captains choose to kick off is because it is the easiest decision.

Seldom would they consider any reasons that would suggest which way to kick.

There is one other change that might seem amusing. It says the goalkeeper cannot score by throwing the ball into his opponent’s goal. Unlikely perhaps, but the laws cover the whole world and perhaps some superhuman, somewhere, has done just that.