Football.London have revealed that the International Football Association Board (IFAB) have made a change to the handball rule that is set to be implemented in the Premier League from the start of next season.
The handball rule was the subject of plenty of controversies during last season, with some fairly cheap penalties being awarded.
Spurs fans will know only too well of the issues with the way in which the rules were being implemented, with Newcastle being awarded a penalty in bewildering circumstances by Peter Bankes for Eric Dier’s unintentional handball in a 1-1 draw back in September.
On the back of that Dier incident and other similar ones, a change was made to how handball decisions were judged, with the referees deciding to penalise defenders only if the handball was intentional or avoidable.
However, the criteria for judging a handball for an attacking player remained the same, with goals continuing to be chopped off if the ball hit the hand of an attacking player, whether intentional or unintentional, in the lead up to a goal.
Football.London have now revealed that this too is set to change, with IFAB now confirming that an accidental handball when creating a goal is no longer an offence.
Under the change, the goal will not be chalked off unless the scoring player uses their hand in the lead up to a goal.
The adaptation allows a teammate to commit an accidental handball, even if it leads to a goal, with handballs (for attacking players) now set to be judged based on where the arm is in relation to a player’s body.
The full release reads: “Law 12 emphasises that not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence. A player’s hand/arm position should be judged in relation to their body movement in that particular situation.
“A player has made their body unnaturally bigger when the hand/arm position is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation. By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of being penalised.”
The statement went on to read that “accidental handball by a team-mate before a goal and accidental handball creating a goal-scoring opportunity are NOT now offences” but added that it is still an offence to score “directly from the scorer’s hand/arm” and “immediately after the ball has touched the scorer’s hand/arm”.
This new adaptation of the rules is reportedly set to be implemented in this summer’s European Championship as well.
Spurs Web Opinion
This is a welcome change as it means that goals, like the one we had ruled out during our 3-0 loss to Sheffield United last year (when the ball struck Moura’s hand after he was pushed to the ground), will no longer be chopped off.
However, this is certainly not going to end controversies surrounding handball decisions as this change has essentially given more weight to referee’s/VAR’s subjective judgement of intent on each incident.
Apart from a few obvious ones, most handballs are always subjective decisions and no matter how much technology we introduce to improve the efficiency of the decision-making process, there will still be controversies surrounding calls.
This change in the law seems to be an acceptance from IFAB that attempts to make handball laws more black and white are doomed to fail.
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