2021 Laws of the Game Changes – VAFA

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There are two new law changes to the Australian Football Laws of the Game in 2021 that apply to community football.

The VAFA adopted one of these law changes.


Law Change 1: Location of The Mark at Kick Ins 

Detailed at Law 17 The Mark shall be set at 15 metres from the centre of the Kick-Off Line towards the centre of the ground at Kick Ins. This was previously set at 10 metres in 2019.

  • Will be adopted by the VAFA in season 2021
  • Umpiring Department (UD) determined this was an easy rule to implement in all competitions, as well as for our coaches, players, and umpires.
  • Will create more time and space for defending teams from the kick in, to create more attacking options after a behind.

Other elements to this rule:

  • There is no requirement for the player standing the mark to ‘stand’, and umpires will actively encourage (‘making an effort’) by working with players to encourage them to actively leave the protected area around the goal area.
  • If the attacking player stands in the protected area and does not actively leave the area or man a defending player up, then umpires will be instructed to award 50m (men’s) and 25m (women’s) penalties.
  • If a defending player(s) goes into the protected area to create an option from the kick out, the attacking player is allowed to follow that player into the protected area.

Law Change 2: Player Standing The Mark

Detailed at Law 20 The defending player will only be permitted minimal lateral movement (ie; ‘stand’) on The Mark. If the defending player moves off The Mark in any direction prior to “Play On” being called, a 50-metre penalty will apply. The defensive team is unable to substitute the Player on The Mark.

  • Will NOT be adopted by the VAFA in season 2021
  • For community football, this is quite a technical rule that we don’t see as having an impact on the way VAFA football is played.
  • This rule was implemented as a way of improving the standard of play and removing congestion in elite level, national football competitions, in which clubs affected have been receiving specific training on for long periods of time, something unavailable to VAFA clubs.
  • With various experiences of players and umpires in our competition, the rule has the opportunity to be misinterpreted by players and umpires leading to confusion at all levels.
  • The UD’s coaching message in 2021 is to ‘blend into the game’ and this law change does not fit that philosophy.

The VAFA will monitor the impact of this rule change in community football in season 2021, as well as seek feedback from players, coaches, and umpires about the future of this rule in our competition.

A reminder to clubs that 6-6-6 (starting positions) and restrictions on runners also do not apply in the VAFA. All other rules are as per the Laws of Australian Football.