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Question Number: 31767

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 9/8/2017

RE: Amateur Adult

george of Parangarecutirimicuaro, CA Sacratomato asks...

An attacker dribbles the ball down the sideline. He then kicks a high pass headed for teammates lining up around the penalty mark. A defender sprints in front of the attacker with the best position to score, presses his arms tight against his body and meets the ball with his arm (the ball hits him between elbow and shoulder). Since the the defender went looking for the ball, would this be a handball even though hands are against the body? If handball, would this merit a yellow/red?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi George
Such situations are never easy to call. Did the ball hit the arm only or was it mainly off the chest?
Did the action by the defender make himself wider and bigger? Was there some factor such as movement of the ball, misjudgement etc which caused the ball to hit the arm?
Now as described this could easily be considered deliberate handling and a penalty kick. If it results in a penalty my sense is that the kick is sufficient sanction.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi George,
As we have said many, many times, judging handling offences is one of the most subjective areas of the law and each referee is entitled to make their decisions, as provided for in the Laws of the Game in Law 5 ''to the best of the referee's ability according to the Laws of the Game and the 'spirit of the game' and will be based on the opinion of the referee ...''

So no referee can tell another referee what is or is not a handling offence - it is up to each referee to decide. What I would say (again, at the risk of repeating myself) is that the primary consideration is whether the player's actions constitute ''a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with the hand or arm'' and that while arm position is a factor in deciding this, it is not the sole determining factor, nor the primary consideration.

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