NEW YORK (July 6, 2022) – MLS NEXT Pro announced today two new competition rules that will go into effect beginning with this week’s matches. The Off-field Treatment Rule will allow for play to resume quickly, while providing medical professionals time to assess and treat players, off the field of play. The Red Card Suspension Rule will provide greater benefit to the club that suffered a foul resulting in a red card or second yellow card.
Under the Off-field Treatment Rule:
1) If a player is suspected to have an injury and is on the ground for longer than 15 seconds, a medical crew will come onto the field to evaluate the player and assist him off the field
2) Once the player is off the field, the player will be treated by the medical staff and will be required to remain off the field for three minutes
There are specific exceptions to the three-minute requirement, including potential head injury, cardiac issue or other serious medical events.
The new rule will also increase effective match time by reducing the likelihood of players embellishing injuries and the gamesmanship that leads to delays in matches.
“We are looking forward to implementing the Off-field Treatment Rule, as we believe it will positively impact our game in multiple ways,” said Ali Curtis, Senior Vice President of Competition & Operations of MLS NEXT Pro. “Not only will it allow our medical professionals to treat our athletes in a less pressurized, more controlled environment, but it will also address players or teams deliberately delaying the game in order to gain a competitive advantage. With less disruptions in play, fans watching will be able to enjoy more soccer and less stoppages.”
Under the new Red Card Suspension Rule: If a player receives a red card, he will serve the resulting one-game suspension against that same opponent. The rule applies in the case of a red card or a second yellow card.
The rule was created to provide more fairness to clubs regarding the discipline of red cards.
Full details on both rules are provided in the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Competition Guidelines.
Both the Off-field Treatment Rule and the Red Card Suspension Rule will be implemented immediately, beginning Thursday when Rochester New York FC hosts Philadelphia Union II (7 p.m. ET, mlsnextpro.com) and used throughout the duration of the 2022 season. Both rules will be reassessed at the end of the season.
Week 16 action will continue Sunday with nine matches, including a Game of the Week double-header, with enhanced broadcasts on mlsnextpro.com of Orlando City B vs. Inter Miami II (7 p.m. ET) and Timbers2 vs. Tacoma Defiance (10 p.m. ET).
About MLS NEXT Pro
Launched in March 2022 by Major League Soccer, MLS NEXT Pro is a professional men’s soccer league in the United States and Canada that completes the player pathway from MLS NEXT through to MLS first teams. With 21 Clubs competing during the inaugural season – 20 MLS-affiliated and one independent club, Rochester New York FC – MLS NEXT Pro will grow the game through innovation and diversity by bringing professional soccer to new markets, creating career opportunities for professionals on and off the field, and providing communities with a strong sense of pride. Additional MLS-affiliated and independent clubs will join MLS NEXT Pro in the years ahead. Beginning in 2023, MLS NEXT Pro matches will be carried live on the Apple TV app as part of the monumental partnership between Apple and Major League Soccer. Through that partnership, from early 2023 through 2032, fans can get every live MLS match by subscribing to a new MLS streaming service, available exclusively through the Apple TV app. For more information about MLS NEXT Pro, visit mlsnextpro.com.