The UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament starting June 10 is going to be a revolutionary one on many fronts. For the first time since its inception in 1960, 24 teams will participate in the tournament, up from just four 56 years ago. From 1996 until the previous edition in 2012, only 16 teams took part.

There will be six groups of four teams each, from which the top two will qualify for the Round of 16, along with the four best third-placed teams from all groups, based on points.

That’s not all.

Earlier this year, the International Football Association Board, a body comprising world football’s governing body FIFA and four British football associations, approved as many as 95 changes to the laws of the game. These changes, which are currently being tested in ongoing international friendly matches, will officially come into effect on June 1. This means that the Euro 2016 in France will be the first tournament where these new rules will be implemented.

The new rules are an attempt to remove inconsistencies in the laws of the game and make them more user-friendly, reported the Associated Press. Following a comprehensive 18-month review, a 22,000-word document has been cut to almost half to 12,000 words.

“We are trying to help situations which tend to occur very often and are a bit crazy,” said David Elleray, a former Premier League referee who was part of the review process. “We have tried to use much clearer language. We tried to avoid a lot of unnecessary repetition and we tried to make it up-to-date. Because the laws have evolved piecemeal and no one has done a comprehensive review, there have been inconsistencies.”

Of the 95 new rule changes in total, here are the ones that will matter the most:

Red cards
There will no longer be an automatic red card for a player who denies the opposition a goal-scoring opportunity. The earlier “triple-punishment” rule meant that the offending player was automatically red-carded, handed a suspension for the next game, and a penalty given if the foul was in the area.

Deliberate fouls, such as holding, pulling, pushing, not playing the ball, violent conduct or intentional handball, will still get a red card. However, accidental fouls ones that deny a goal-scoring opportunity will warrant a caution.

Action before kick-off
Referees can take action against a player for indiscipline even before the match has started, including when warming up. This means that infamous altercations such as the one between Manchester United’s Roy Keane and Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira in the tunnel before kick-off can be penalised. However, yellow cards can be given only after the game has started.

The team that is kicking off no longer has to kick the ball forward. The ball has to just move for the game to begin. This means that teams can now choose to kick off with only one player. Referees have also been asked not to manufacture dropped-ball scenarios.

Penalty shootouts
A coin toss will now decide which end of the ground the penalty shootout will take place, subject to pitch and safety concerns. Earlier, it was the referee’s choice.

A team with more players on the ground than the opposition due to sending-offs also has to reduce the number of penalty takers so that the two sides are on a level playing field. This rule has been implemented to stop teams who have had a player sent off from having better penalty takers available sooner, thereby putting them at an advantage.

The hands and arms of a player will not be included when judging if they are offside.

Receiving treatment
Players who are injured by a challenge that is punished by a card can receive swift medical treatment on the pitch itself, rather than having to leave the field. This is to prevent the offending team from gaining an unfair temporary numerical advantage.

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