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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 31863

Law 18 - Common Sense 10/4/2017

RE: Competitive Professional

Constantine Domashnev of Pittsburgh, PA USA asks...

Assuming the ball strikes Gary Cahill's shoulder/arm, which area on his sleeve would be callable 'handling':

a) below of what appears to be the black band?
b) the black band?
c) slightly above the black band?

Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Constantine,
Without trying to sound like it being too much of a cop-out, I think my answer would have to be 'none of the above.' The black arm band, which I think may be a mark of mourning as the other player is also wearing one, is not located in the right place to be the demarcation line between the arm and the shoulder, which is what most referees would say delineates handling offences.

As I think we have said several times in previous answers, the generally-accepted principle is that the place where the shoulder seam is normally located on a shirt is the demarcation line. In the photo you link to, because of the way Cahill's arm is flexed and the way his shirt sleeve has ridden up, the arm band is fairly close to the shoulder but it still should not be used to judge which part of the anatomy could be involved in a handling offence

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Constantine
Deliberate handling or to use its misnomer handball can now be one of the most difficult calls for a referee to make. The Laws require that when a player deliberately uses his hand or arm to move, control or stop the ball it is a penal offence punished by a direct free kick or penalty. The use of the arm extends to all of the arm right up to the shoulder joint, normally the sleeve joint on the jersey
Now the referee will be faced with times where the ball makes contact with the chest, shoulder and perhaps upper arm. Can the referee say for certain that the player used the arm to play the ball. In those instances the benefit of doubt will be given as not handling.
Now if a player lifts his arms and uses it to *cup*the ball on to his chest that will be deliberate handling and it will look like that.
In the Cahill picture the player runs a high risk of being called for handling should the ball make contact with A B C as listed by yourself as it is part of the arm.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Constantine
if the ball strikes the arm there is no deliberate handling as long as no effort was deliberate in causing it to occur. The memorial armband though moves up & down, we still use the seam of the chest, shoulder as the cut away for arm /not arm distinction.

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