Football chiefs make changes to handball rule

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Jan Vertonghen

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) have passed several new measures that tweak some of the laws in the game, including the handball rule. According to a report by the BBC, the new measures entail that a handball need not be deliberate for it to be called by the referee.

This rule change is applicable mostly in attacking situations when a team gets an advantage due to the ball accidentally hitting a player’s hand. Going forward, those instances will be called as a handball irrespective of whether or not the attacking player intended to gain an unfair advantage by using his hand.

With respect to defensive situations, it has been decided that if a player’s arms extend beyond a “natural silhouette”, handball will be given, even if it is perceived as accidental.

This means that defenders don’t necessarily have to put their arms behind their backs while attempting to defend or block a shot, as they are allowed to keep their arms in a natural silhouette form.

However, if the ball hits the defender’s hand when it is a position even slightly beyond the determined silhouette, a penalty or free kick will be given irrespective of whether the there is any intention on the part of the defender to use his hand to block the shot.

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