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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34065

Law 10 - Determining the Outcome of a Match 11/29/2020

RE: Adult

Stefanos of Athens, Greece asks...

In this case, the attacker's hand touches the ball as he makes the pass, then his teamate immediately shoots the ball, creating a goal chance. Then, the same player makes an assist and finally the team scores. The goal was cancelled by the referee and the VAR. Was his decision right? Thank you in advance!
(06:48 of the video)

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Stefanos,
This was NOT a deliberately handled ball this was a ball to hand deflection that fell ADVANTAGOUSLY to the attacker's benefit. No immediate goal or scoring opportunity can directly or indirectly result from a ball that contacts the hand of the attacker . It does not matter if it was accidental or on purpose. The idea of a goal scored as a result of ANY type of handling was deemed inappropriate to the game and the LOTG were changed to make it so.

The ball was kicked into the goal mouth scramble but it contacted the attacker's arm by accident as it continued in flight . The FACT a goal resulted a bit later from additional touches DOES NOT necessarily ALTER it WAS considered to be a scoring opportunity that benefitted from a handling deflection creating the chance. Thus no goal, DFK out, but no caution as it was inadvertently handled.

Given the ball did pinball around a bit , if the officials had decided ENOUGH time & completely new circumstances were in effect AFTER the ball was accidently handled during the cross . Then the goal resulted from a new scoring opportunity & could be deemed as ok. I think as panel we find the disallowing of this goal to be an over reach of the LOTG intentions of not permitting a suspect or unfair goal from occurring.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Stefanos
One of the significant changes to handling offences is that a goal or goal scoring opportunity cannot result from the ball making contact with an attacking player’s arm even accidentally.
In the past a referee had discretion to opine that handling was not deliberate and therefore no offence in all cases. That discretion is now removed for goals or goalscoring opportunities.
In this situation the ball makes contact with the attackers arm which is why the handling offence was called.
Now IFAB the law making body has ruled in Law 12 that it is not an offence if, after an accidental handball, the ball travels some distance (pass or dribble) and/or there are several passes before the goal or goal-scoring opportunity. I believe that there is enough distance plus subsequent play to rule that it was not an immediate goal scoring opportunity and as the player played the ball on to his raised arm that is not considered deliberate handling.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Stefanos,

Law 12 says:

"It is an offence if a player:
- scores in the opponents’ goal directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper

- after the ball has touched their or a team-mate’s hand/arm, even if accidental, immediately"

The key word here is "immediately." When this word was added, the IFAB also added a new explanation:

"If an attacking player accidentally touches the ball with their hand/arm and the ball then goes to another attacking player and the attacking team immediately scores, this is a handball offence."

Once again, note the inclusion of the word "immediately."

The problem here (as it often is) is in the interpretation of the law's wording. What exactly does "immediately" mean? Different referees or officials could potentially come to a different conclusion even after viewing the same events.

For what it's worth, in this particular incident I do not believe the goal was scored immediately enough after the handling occurred (and neither was it a handling offence in and of itself) so in my personal opinion the goal should have been allowed. The officials here obviously disagreed - though I suspect it was because they thought that the handling was an offence in the build up to the goal, rather than it having led immediately to a goal.

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