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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34106

Law 18 - Common Sense 1/20/2021

RE: rec High School

David Lovett of Royal Palm Beach, FL United States asks...

Ok so here we go. The new or shall I say latest handball rule. I have a simple question that I am sure does not have a simple answer. I am being told by fellow referees that the new rule states that you call the same foul differently based on whether it is the attacking team or the defending team that commits the handball offense. I have read the law over and over and watched some videos and I don't see anywhere where it specifically states that if it is an attacker you call it this way and if it is a defender you call it that way. Please help and thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi David,

The only different standard between attackers and defenders is that any handling, accidental or otherwise, that leads to a goal or immediately goalscoring opportunity must result in a free kick. So, you could have an arm tucked into the body that is struck by a ball with no chance to react - for a defender that's no foul, but for an attacker it's a foul, only if it immediately leads to a goal or GSO.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi David
Accidental handling was never considered an offence. However msny times where accidental handling led to a goal referees opined that it was deliberate and punished accordingly. others allowed play to continue which clearly did not sit well with the conceding team as it was seen as handling.
The latest changes to Law 12 now means that any handling of the ball which leads to a goal or a goal scoring opportunity will be penalised irrespective if it is deliberate or not.
The same handling by a defender would not be punished.
So even if in a purely accidental contact by an attacker that must be called as an offence once it leads to a goal or GSO.
The view by the lawmakers is that soccer does not accept a goal being scored by a hand/arm even if accidental plus it is expected that a player should be penalised for handball if they gain possession/ control of the ball from their hand/arm and gain a major advantage e.g. score or create a goal-scoring opportunity.
As an example a defender kicks the ball which hits an attacker on the arm and he has no knowledge of that contact with the ball rebounding into the goal or falling kindly to create a goal chance will be penalised as handling whereas the exact same scenario where the ball hits a defender again with no deliberate action or knowledge abd who clears the ball will not be punished.
It does not sit well with many who feel that both should be treated the same.
Personally my solution was to punish all contact on the arm / hand with an IDFK and only award a DFK or penalty where the offender is cautioned or sent off.
I exoect further changes to Law12 and handling in the years ahead as it is still fraught with problems for referees and there is a lack of consistency.
We have to go with ehat we have for the moment.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jason,
the new slant here is soccer politicians have decided upon a principle of FAIRNESS that NO goal can be allowed by the attacking team if that goal derived from or was aided by the use of the hands of ANY attacker within a relatively short period of time.
It does NOT take into account if the contact was deliberate OR accidental, it is just as if the ball had gone into touch, in that the ball is now OUT of play, and the opposition gets a DFK from the point of hand to ball or ball to hand contact.

I personally think it is needless to change but:
Over the years TV coverage has shown goals scored where:
the ball was propelled into the goal by illegal use of the hands:
the ball reacted favorably off the hands of an attacker resulting in an eventual goal
the ball rebounded both accidentally and was also redirected deliberately:
the referee missed the act entirely but :
the player scoring with the hand admitted it to the referee:
the player scoring celebrated and kept quiet about the illegal contact

The Henri goal against Ireland

and the Maradonna Hand of God goal

both are credible examples of cheating to win at any cost where the player felt enough immortality to suppress their fair play instincts to achieve a win. With VAR neither of those incidents would have been allowed and the player punished for doing so as they were clearly done illegally.

Yet we have players being given the fair play award for contesting a goal THEY scored because they believed it went in off their arm even if the referee felt it was accidentally. I recall Klose a class act in 2012 admitting this and the referee taking away the goal WITHOUT issuing a card by the way lol

This idea of unfair results in handling is NOT applicable to defenders who are trying to prevent a goal against them and as such if they fail the opposition will receive credit for the goal.

Blue player #3 while trying to clear the ball from his PA, kicks the ball, it hits yellow player #2 in the forearm held across his chest, totally by accident, and rebounds into blue players' goal NO GOAL, DFK out, no card

Reason: Yellow benefited from the accidental handling

Blue player #3 while trying to clear the ball from his PA, kicks the ball, it hits yellow player #2 in the forearm held across his chest Yellow player #2 deliberately redirects that ball into the blue goal using his forearm. NO GOAL, caution for USB, DFK out

Reason: Yellow benefited from deliberate handling hence the caution

Blue player #3 while trying to clear the ball from his PA, kicks the ball, it hits yellow player #2 in the forearm held across his chest, when the ball accidentally strikes Yellow player #2 in the arm the ball falls favorably in front of him and he kicks the ball into the arm of blue player #2, the ball is redirected off blue #2 arm into the blue goal. NO GOAL DFK out.

Reason: Yellow benefited from the accidental handling to be able to get off the shot that did score quickly. The handling by blue deliberate or accidental occurs only AFTER the handling by yellow

Blue player #3 while trying to clear the ball from his PA, kicks the ball, has it intercepted by yellow player #2. Yellow player #2 kicks the ball into the arm of defender blue player #3, the ball is redirected off blue #3 arm into the blue goal. GOAL, restart kick-off.

Reason: The handling by blue be it deliberate or accidental is of no consequence to yellow who did nothing wrong

Blue player #3 while trying to clear the ball from his PA, kicks the ball, has it intercepted by yellow player #2 way up the field. Yellow player #2 while trying to adjust to the unusual bounce has the ball catch his wrist slightly as he kicks the ball back into the attacking third into the blue corner. The handling contact was minimal but unsure if deliberate or accidental, the referee allows play to continue. After 30 seconds of contested possession that ball finally winds up in around the goal and an own goal results GOAL, restart kick-off.

Reason: The handling by yellow (deliberate or accidental) was of no immediate consequence to immediate play or to yellow per se or detrimental to blue who did nothing wrong. The resulting goal occurs later and is not attributable to that handling incident way up the field a long while ago.

Although it is SLIGHTLY plausible an accidental handling a long way away could set the ball into the path of a goal scorer or goal-scoring situation. I believe the law change was meant for in close handling situations around the PA. The effect MUST be immediate or shown to give a favorable outcome beyond doubt!

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