Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32012

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/10/2017

RE: Adult

Muhammad Rizwan of Abbottabad, Abbottabad Pakistan asks...

In play off world cup qualifier between Northern Ireland VS Switzerland referee awarded a penalty kick to Switzerland for a handball. I think the player was turned and the ball was hit on his shoulder and also referee cautioned him what you say about this handball?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Muhammad
the referee on the night from his angle of view and in real time opined that the ball hit the players upper arm in an attempt to block the ball. He does not have the benefit of action replay, freeze frame, slow motion etc
Much has been said and written about it. My only comment is that deliberate handling has now become one of the most difficult calls in the game.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Muhammad,
I dislike to criticise referees at the elite level knowing that a referee with integrity call what he sees despite us seeing it differently. Yet I was stunned in both real time and again in the replays , despite the Swiss deserving of a goal in the run of play. If anything Northern Ireland missed far too many opportunities and gave away far too many opportunities to think they deserved better. It is never easy to referee world cup matches, emotions run very high but Northern Ireland will feel as gutted as did the Republic of Ireland felt hard done by as they did when the French player Henri got away with a horrific blatant handling to put them out. Here the most innocuous handling call I have yet seen to result in a goal is painful to accept as a referee opinion on a fact of play. Particularly along side the brutal tackle later in the match receiving only a yellow and the fact the deliberate handling in the PA was also judged as a yellow caution is very confusing and most unconvincing as far as critical match incidents go? I saw the referee positioning to be very good at having a look but I did not see a look to the AR? So I can only assume he took the responsibility for the PK himself. It was a hard volley from a short distance that struck the up near the head, back of shoulder area. I do not know what if any conversation was exchanged between the AR and CR in this incident?

As a sporting gesture this would have been a good time for the Swiss player to step up and pass the ball to the keeper yet the desire to win at any cost since the referee gave the gift, why squander it! Heck in the old Republic of Ireland incident where Henri who KNEW he cheated did not fess up, again wining at any cost .

Where is this value added video referee VAR? It seems like a good use of technology to not allow a bad decision to cloud the result. His match, His decision, His reputation. Love to hear his comments in the post game review once he has re-examined the crucial critical incident decisions? It is this inability to admit mistakes that constantly fan the fire of conspiracy. I so dislike the arbitrary nature of the deliberate handling issue as a DFK. I think it should be an INDFK offence UNLESS it is a blatant denial of a goal inside the PA by reaching out and batting the ball down. I think improper recognition of this foul is responsible for more unfair results than any other foul. Either they IFAB/FIFA & national associations address this very real problem or we should tie the hands behind the back of players to play the game!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32012
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.