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Question Number: 31683

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/6/2017

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

This question is a follow up to question 31674

I have two more videos from the match Banik Ostrava vs. Slavia Prague. I find it interesting to our discussion.

Video A:

Video B:

My questions are:
1) Why is 'Video A' offense and 'Video B' not?

2) Why is 'Video A' offense, when the previous 'Video' from question 31674 is not offense?

It is very difficult to understand this rule:-)


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

In my very first answer I stated that handling is one of the most difficult decision for a referee to make. I also said that one in every ten would be deliberate.
I would safely say that neither A nor B were deliberate handling yet we know that these can be got wrong.
Now one of the challenges for referees in decision making is human nature. In video A it would have been difficult for the referee to not call handling as it would look like the player stopped the ball with his hand and gained a significant advantage resulting in a goal. Now benefiting in such situations should have absolutely NO bearing on the decision yet we know that referees err on the side of handling under such pressure in goal scoring situations. In this situation the goalkeeper hit the ball from short range against the attackers arm which was by his side in a natural position. He knew nothing about the ball hitting him and as a result it should have not been called as handling. It is no different then the situation in the other video in that the player had no idea the ball was going to hit him on the arm nor had he time to do anything about it.
The human nature part is that the no penalty is an easier call than allowing the goal. In a similar way these decisions at say half way would be much easier to make with little focus on them.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr,
it is not at all difficult to grasp the deliberately handling the ball is a foul.
The difficulty is in recognizing that an opinion can be wrong at any level by anyone. We see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it. It is insightful to face yourself, the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are. It is only as we age that we grasp life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards. I tend to lean heavily on the benefit of any philosophy as it is within the scope of the open mind, to challenge us to rethink our old assumptions. The problem within philosophy it involves a certain amount of mental gymnastics, were slight or major differences of opinion often seem pathetic or churlish in points of view. We can be either deceived by believing what is untrue, as readily as we are prone to be deceived by not believing what is true. ... Which deception is more dangerous?
This was, in MY opinion only, a good goal, if the ball had been deflected off ANY other body part there is no issue! I saw No attempt to palm, the ball move the arm into the way in fact I saw it draw back slightly. As I often say Your match your decision your reputation . Perhaps referee or AR may have felt the arm was used to knock the ball down deliberately as an opinion on a fact of play his decision cannot be disputed or he simply did not want to award a goal off a favorable handling episode I do not know his mind set! The fact the ball fell advantageously seemed to irritate the referee as it often does the players who dislike scored goals of the hands. There was nothing deliberate in the attackers action the keeper simply punched pushed the ball into the player's arm it could have easily hit his nose in the grand scheme of things. I noted no real screaming for the foul by the opposition only relief that they got lucky to have a legit goal not count! This highlights the difficult of educating the public if even referees are susceptible to the fact no one LIKES a goal scored with the arm/hand involved be it accidental or not!

Congrats to the referee for UNDERSTANDING the situation this was NEVER a foul

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
I think the issue here is not so much understanding the law as it is understanding different referee's judgements when it comes to interpreting the laws. As we have pointed out many, many times (in fact, almost every time we discuss this) the question of deliberate handling is one of the most tricky areas of the law and is probably the one that leads to the most disagreements and differing interpretations even among referees.

Looking at controversial and possibly incorrect decisions regarding handling incidents is possibly not the best way to understand the law. I prefer to read the law and follow it as closely as I can - based on my judgement of it.

My colleagues have both referred to the tendency to view handling based partly on how the potential offence benefits the player or team that (may have) committed the offence. Even though this is not justified in law, it is an understandable tendency and I agree with my colleagues that while neither video shows a deliberate handling offence it probably contributed to the referee's decision in penalising the player when a goal was scored in Video A.

So the answer to 'why Video A is an offence' is probably that is that it wasn't - at least in my humble opinion (and that of my colleagues).

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