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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33963

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/15/2020

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Handling inconsistency.

In a recent reply to Petr of Prague - regarding handling - Ref McHugh provided a great example to illustrate the challenge we face of determining if a scenario of the ball hitting an arm/hand is deemed a offence or not. see clip foul.

As ref McHugh points out, this really should not have been a penalty as it is clearly unintentional from the defender.

While I will work with the LOTG, I find it inconsistent (in theory) that had this been an attacker and the ball fell to a teammate to shoot on goal - it would be pulled up.

I get it that IFAB dont like the idea of a goal coming from he ball hitting an arm or hand an resulting in a goal, however, if it is clear as day unintentional - why chalk it off.
if they want to be that pedantic about not allowing a goal to be scored of an arm or hand, then, they should rule a ball that goes into goal off a defenders arm/hand unintentionally should be a goal kick out.

I know that will never see the light of day - but it is mentioned to illustrate what I think is still a way to go in nutting out the handling area of the LOTG.

To further illustrate how inconsistent the new advice is, is that a defender can move there arm into what is considered a natural position where the ball hits their arm and no foul is given - only because the arm is deemed to be in a natural position.

i use this scenario as it has just been used as an example (pictures and footage examples) in recent LOTG updates by our referring association just prior to the belated start of our grass roots footy here.

A defender, in a wall within the PA, jumps and moves their arms (clearly deliberately) inside the silhouette of there body where the ball hits the arms. Not offence - due to not making the body bigger. My jaw one level lower than our National league).

As mentioned above, I'll work inside the LOTG, but I'll internally be occasionally shaking my head and have empathy for the players that question a decision.

My game, my Match, My decision as someone far more experienced and knowledgeable than me once (often) said.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
Thanks for your contribution.
As always the great handling debate rumbles on and IFAB does its best to try to bring better certainty to this part of the game.
I watched a video of a USSF course hosted by Referee Esse Baharmast some time ago and he espoused the concept of that arms on the ground in slide challenges should be called as handling once the ball made contact with an arm.
IFAB has now opined that a ball hitting an arm used to hold up / cushion the fall of a player should not be punished as handling and IFAB is now saying it should only be called if the intention is to make the body bigger and the arm is away from the body. At the time Referee Baharmast posed the question of the coach saying * I do not know what you are calling* and that is still the case today.
In the image used to show this the lower arm under the player is not seen as causing a handing offence. Interestingly the other raised arm for balance is making the player bigger, it is above his head and it can be called.
I have long espoused of making the ball hitting an arm that does not result in a disciplinary card should be an technical IDFK offence and when a card is used t should be a DFK. Rarely do we see real deliberate handling where the player intentionally moves the ball with a hand. Most times it is arm position that is penalised.
In recent law changes the attacking ones are now given as DFKs even accidental so why not an IDFK and then call the same offence by a defender as an IDFK. That makes it the same for both.
It would be all much simpler. Ball makes contact with an arm is an IDFK except where say a goal is saved which is a red card or the other situations where referees are advised to caution for handling.
For the moment we have to go with what is in the law book and it is up to each referee to call it as he sees it.
On the wall situation I feel that the advice given by your association will poses problems. The player has used an arm to assist in playing the ball. If a player places his elbow pointing at the ball and it makes contact on a jump the ball is highly likely to travel a greater distance away rather if it hit the chest. I get that it is going to hit the chest anyway yet that is not the only consideration in handling.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
I think I would have to agree that many of the latest changes made by the IFAB to the handling law have not made the law less ambiguous.

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