by Bob Heckel

The Major Arena Soccer League Executive Committee has approved a series of recommendations it received from the MASL Rules Committee and the MASL Director of Officiating for the 2016-17 season that will focus on athlete safety, professional conduct, and decreasing un-necessary delays to the flow of the game.

“The League worked hard this off season to ensure MASL players are safe on our fields during game play. After analyzing other successful leagues in regards to concussion protocols, we are satisfied that the precautions we have installed will ensure player safety as much as possible. Along with the rest of the rules, the MASL has once again taken another step forward moving into this season”, said MASL Commissioner Joshua Schaub.

2016-17 Rule Changes:

Concussion Protocol – Once a player leaves the game with concussion like symptoms he will only be permitted to return to the game after being cleared to play by the on-site medical professional who will make the sole determine whether it is safe for player to continue in the game. Referees are instructed to stop the game immediately for head injuries.

2016-17 Officiating Points of Emphasis:

Two-footed Tackles – An emphasis will continue again this year to strictly penalize two-footed tackles even if the tackler wins the ball. The rule will also apply to goalkeepers who attempt a two-footed tackle outside the penalty area.

Elbowing or Contact Above the Shoulder – A two-minute blue card penalty, at minimum will be assessed to any player who contacts an opponent in the head or face area when not challenging for the ball regardless of intent (unless the force was negligible). Referees have the discretion of assessing a Major Penalty or an Ejection based on the severity of the contact.

Player Behavior & Dissent – Referees at the pro level must be able to manage the personalities present on the field. While players can easily get caught up in the heat of the moment there will be less tolerance by referees with players who enter the referee crease or when multiple players run up to and surround the referees to argue calls.

Game Flow - With an objective to decrease long stoppages of play and keep games “flowing”, referees will be less tolerant with players who engage in tactics that take away a team’s advantage of a quick restart as well as a penalized player who does not immediately report to the penalty box.


The MASL was formed in 2014 by teams from the Professional Arena Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League. The league represents the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world, and features teams across North America, with teams playing coast-to-coast in the United States and Mexico.