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Question Number: 33897

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/23/2020

RE: Competitive Adult

PeterBabbage of Hjorring, Denmark asks...

Following on from my question about handball in the area if I may but Im a little puzzled by an incident in the Leicester v Man City game yesterday. Though delighted ( as Man City is my teamðŸ) that a slot kick was not awarded by either the on field ref or the VAR , I cant quite see why not.
The free kick was struck, Kevin De Bruyne put his hands in front of his face and the ball struck them at about the same time as it struck Aymeric Laportes body.
So he raised his hands to the ball, it was not that close when the ball was kicked, were the hands in a natural position, not really though I suppose its instinctive to shield your face. The hands were also above shoulder level (just).
Im struggling to find reasons why a spot kick was not awarded.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Peter,
I think you and everyone else who has seen this is struggling to understand why it was not picked up as a handling offence, either by the referee or VAR. As ref McHugh says, it meets the criteria for an offence. The only thing I can think of, is that the VAR decided that even if it was an offence, it didn't meet the 'clear and obvious error' standard.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Peter
So am I struggling and this is handling all day long and it should have been a penalty. De Bruyne raises his arms up to his head albeit for protection yet sure any charge down with raised arms does this. It meets all the conditions of handling by moving the arms to the ball into an unnatural position above shoulder height. In an U10 / 12 game it might be let slide yet not above that and certainly not in the Pro game.
Why it was not given is somewhat beyond me. All I can think of is that VAR believes the referee has seen it and has not given it so VAR did not want to intervene?
I have heard some nonsense that if the ball had not hit his arm it would have hit his head. If he does not want the ball to hit his head then do not stand in the wall or get out of the way.
Week in week out we see referees advising players in defensive walls not to raise their arms up to the head as it will be called as handling.
In the Burnley v Bournemouth game a Burnley goal was ruled out for handling and it was questionable handling. There was not one appeal for the call and it looked like it came off a players shoulder with no movement of the arm. By comparison the DeBruyne one was so obvious I just cannot fathom it. It would be interesting to get the *official* position on it.
Also it highlights to me the poor policy of not having a pitch side review by the referee. I get the fact that no one wants to see the game delayed constantly for a monitor reviews yet leaving it all to a VAR official in a booth at Stockley Park is not tenable. The VAR advice may be to not intervene in the refereeing of the game yet what is the point of VAR if obvious offences such as this are let slide while questionable one are punished.
The VAR official took the public rap for two poor decisions at the weekend while the referees seem to be exonerated whatever about on review by PGMOL. To me the referee should review his decision on the monitor and then decide accordingly and then live by his call. Referee Dawsons normal quote comes to mind.

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