Rule changes for 2016 Copa announced last-minute, including 4th sub in ET

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The 2016 Copa America Centenario has been doing things a little bit differently, given the centennial nature of this year’s tournament, but CONMEBOL (with the approval of FIFA) have taken that practice one step further with a set of last-minute rule changes ahead of tonight’s opener between the U.S. national team and Colombia.

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As has been the case in previous editions of Copa America, the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will go straight to penalty kicks if tied after 90 minutes. Extra time will only occur in the event of a 90-minute stalemate in the final — that much we knew well in advance.

However, the following rules will also be implemented, for the first time in many cases — via Caitlin Murray:

  • A fourth sub will be awarded to each team during extra time Again, this can only occur in the final, but it’s been a long time coming. Six totally spent outfield players are better to watch than seven.
  • No automatic red card for the denial of a goalscoring opportunity (DOGSO) — The act of committing “DOGSO” will presumably be punished with a yellow card, and penalty kick when warranted.
  • Arms and hands will not be considered offside — If you can’t score a goal with a particular part of your body, you shouldn’t be ruled offside if that particular part of your body is in an offside position.
  • Yellow cards for goalkeepers who come off their line early during a penalty kick — Another “why hasn’t this happened sooner?”

For the most part, these changes seem to have been made either in common sense or long-overdue fashion. That much is great. The part that’s not so great? The official announcement came down all of three hours before the first game. Presumably — hopefully — teams and coaching staffs were keyed in months weeks days ago.