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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34049

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/10/2020

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


one situation please.

The ball hits first player's body (or head, or leg) and then his arm.

General questions:

It was not an offense before. How is it now after editing the rules? In which cases has this old view changed?

Specific questions:

I suspect these two situations.

1) the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger

2) the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level (unless the player
deliberately plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm)

In point 1) is not intentionality considered? The rules are not very clear:-)
Is there any new clarification from IFAB?

Thank you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Deliberate handling as you know continues to be one of the most difficult decisions for referees to make.
There has been clarity now on some aspects such as scoring a goal or creating a goal scoring opportunity which are now certain offences even if accidental.
As to other aspects it is still a judgement call. Most times players do not intentionally decide to handle the ball yet it has more to do with positioning the arms in a way that makes it an offençe
When the player deliberately plays the ball and it then hits the players arm that generally is not handling for a number of reasons. One is the player has no chance to avoid the ball and secondly the arm position is probably there naturally as a result of his playing of the ball with his foot or arm.
Case in point was the Rojo handling in the 2008 World Cup
That was not a handling then and it is still not a handling as Rojo clearly heads the ball on to his raised extended arm. He did not intentionally raise his arms which just happened in the way he headed the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Petr,
honestly I am rather tired and disappointed at the whole debacle of deliberate handling . FIFA and IFAB have tried so hard to push the criteria and create the SAME outcome & conditions to where it is simply easier to call it then not to! I understand their aim was to create greater consistency so that players and coaches are not scratching their heads at opposing ends of the field as to why one is a penalty the other is nothing. The consistency of all referee decisions from game to game is their overreaching objective whereas the consistency of the single referee decisions in THAT single match are far more sustainable. I had a match where the rushing attacker tried to intercept a clearance by a keeper who hammered the ball directly at him. The player turned slightly trying to not take it in the midsection, the ball rebounded into the goal off the arm across the chest. In the past I could allow that goal today it is a free kick out? Zero fairness in my opinion but then no goal or benefit can occur if the ball is off the arm even if it is unintentional or accidental . That very idea defeats the concept of what deliberate is! In the case of the video my colleague uses, it is NOT a foul if it is a defender but it could be if he was an attacker to benefit from such an accident. lol Cheers

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