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Question Number: 32556

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/1/2018

RE: Under 19

Matthew Plodinec of Bristow, VA United States asks...

Curious as to your view on the handling pk in the Russia/Spain match. The Spanish player attempted to head the ball and the player behind him headed it off his arm from behind. I have said at this level nothing is unintentional, but this seems almost so. The players arm was raised due to his attempt on the header. I believe the replay shows that he was bringing it down as well. I don't see it as intentional or deliberate. To me the foul is for handling and handling is a verb. The player did nothing to play the ball so it should not have been an infraction.

Follow up- Is the question of intent reviewable by VAR?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matthew
This is what my association UEFA has to say
** Although football is a game in which players constantly move their arms and hands as a natural part of their movement, in deciding if a player is handling the ball deliberately, it is essential to consider the following points:
# Does he use his hand or arm to intentionally touch the ball?
# Was it a hand to ball situation or ball to hand?
# Are the player's hands or arms in a "natural" position?
# Does the player want to "make himself bigger" by using his arms?
# Distance the ball travelled before striking the player's hand
# Does the player try to avoid the ball striking his hand?
# Is the player able to avoid the ball striking his hand?**
Now we have seen in this World Cup that referees have given these types of handling as deliberate handling, cases in point were the ones by Cedric of Portugal and Poulsen of Denmark. Both players hand their arms raised and the ball struck them. It seems like it is policy to award such handling as deliberate.
Now regular viewers to the site will know that I have been advocating an IDFK for such technical handling rather than the penalty kick. Rarely do we see deliberate handling of the type that needs to be punished by a direct free kick or penalty and as it stands the referee community is divided on these with many saying yes and as many saying no.
So I could see how it was given and the only disagreement that I had with referee Kuipers was that it did not deserve a caution as well. I am assuming the card was not for dissent.
Now I suspect it went to a *silent* review on VAR and it was no doubt confirmed as DHB. If it was missed and went to review i belu ve it would have resulted in a penalty kick as well.
Interestingly the Russian player that headed the ball did so with his arms by his side and he jumped as high as Pique. What it is also telling players that raised arms run the high risk of a DHB award.

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