Report: Premier League ask referees to change handball approach after Dier incident

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Sky Sports have revealed that the Premier League have asked the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body responsible for referees, to change their approach to how they interpret handball decisions.

The interpretation of the new handball rules has already caused plenty of controversies just a few weeks into the campaign, with a drastic rise in the number of penalties being awarded.

Referee Peter Bankes’ decision to award Newcastle United a late penalty last Sunday after Eric Dier was adjudged to have handled the ball made headlines in a big way.

The decision incurred a massive backlash from fans, pundits and former players and it looks as though such a response has pushed the Premier League to take action.

Sky Sports have revealed that the Premier League had a meeting with PGMOL on Tuesday to ask referees to take a more subjective approach to handball decisions.

Referees have been asked to check if hands are in “an unnatural” position while also instructing them to watch incidents on pitchside monitors in “real-time”.

Officials have also been urged to take into account how close a player is to the ball and whether they had enough time to react.

The report reveals that while the Premier League is prepared to lobby the IFAB for a change in the handball law, the law will not be amended in the middle of the campaign, with any modifications only coming into effect in June of next year.

Spurs Web Opinion

As some have pointed out already, there was always an element of subjectivity to handball calls with things like intent, reaction time and position of the arm, all having an influence. So any attempt to “simplify” the law by making it black and white was bound to backfire, particularly when the decisions are subject to the close scrutiny of VAR. This move from the Premier League is certainly a step in the right direction.

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