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Question Number: 32597

Other 7/17/2018

RE: Intermediate Under 14

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32596

I have some reservations about the INFK resolution to 'technical' handballs. While this has been a very difficult area for referees, wouldn't this introduce another variable with it's own problems?

Professional players have become very adept at disguising fouls, whether it's been shirt pulls, pushes from the back, or deliberate flops. I'm sure if there was a rule change, you'd see a lot more 'technical' handling.

The interpretation of deliberate handling is clear enough. It's just that it seems FIFA keeps changing the emphasis. Either you actually intended to deflect the ball or if your hands are in an unnatural position & the ball hits it, it's handling. If it's such a close call that you can't be sure, there's no foul.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
In field hockey a ball that hits a foot is penalised with a free hit. Period. Little debate about it.
In soccer I would say that probably in a season I see perhaps at most 3/4 certain deliberate ball handling where the player has manipulated the ball with a hand. The rest are in the technical handball category aka the Croatian incident. Now we know on those there is scale in interpretation from at one end placing a arm in a way that makes the player bigger, trying not to avoid the ball, the arm being raised to help in playing the ball to the arms being in a natural position as part of player movement.
Now I look at the Croatian handling and I would say perhaps not deliberate yet the player by his action has also stopped the ball with an arm. I feel like many that there should be a sanction yet a penalty kick is just too harsh and onerous.
My suggestion is to call every single handling as an IDFK with the exception of the certain deliberate
handling aka Suarez v Ghana. I think it would have the opposite effect as in the Croatian case players will soon adjust to ensuring that the IDFK is not called. It also takes away any debate as it is an IDFK period. The only decision for the referee is to determine if it hit or not which is part of the DHB decision anyway .
As it stands I just cannot say nor can anyone else what is going to be called.
Have a look at this video
This was reviewed by VAR and not given as it was deemed not deliberate. In the WC it would have been IMO called as DHB. Therein is the issue. For me it was a technical handling and for that reason an IDFK would have been a fairer call. If I put this to a straw poll of referees I would say I would get a 50/50 call yet if it was an IDFK decision I would say 100%. The IDFK restores the ball to the attacking team in that position.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Phil,
I would have to say that I agree with your point of view. I don't see introducing an indirect free kick for non-deliberate handling as a solution to the present handling law quandary. I think it would just introduce a whole bunch of different problems.

For me, the solution is for the IFAB to go back to, and re-emphasise in clearer terms, the principles in the law as written, especially the parts saying that the position of the hand does not necessarily mean there is an offence and that an offence should not be given when the ball is deflected from close range onto a player's hand (unexpected ball).

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Phil,
I had a hard time convincing my colleagues at first that FIFA WAS in fact teaching a more UNIFORM approach to deliberate handling that has nothing to do with intent but more of an impetus on a deliberate attempt to play the ball gone wrong. The slide tackle on a deliberate challenge to strip or block the ball from an attacker the current teaching is if you go to ground and there is ball to hand contact you are going to be called for a foul. This is way different then if after falling you get hit by a ball on the arm while on the ground, there is no foul .

The idea that a defender MUST keep his arms from contacting the ball is in my opinion rather ludicrous unless the arms are used in such a way as to be evidently making a move into towards the ball.

Look at the thickness of an arm and the width of a ball?
There is a lot contact material to allow an impact.

Lets address the arms at what is called normal positioning .
I defy ANYONE to jump without moving the arms in a fast crowded mob of players, all trying to get to the ball first, not push or hold the opponent away from backing in .

You stand like Christ on the cross THAT is not normal
You place your hands over top your head asking to go to the washroom THAT is not normal.

When you are marking a man defensively you are NOT always ball watching.

I think the PK in the Croatia France game was an accident created by the French player ducking his head so the ball drops in quickly on top of the defender behind. Ball is moving quickly once the ball is on top of the defender realizing his arm is now on a collision he is frantically trying to move it knowing it is too late. We all would think nothing if that ball l has caught him in the nose or face after clearing the opponent's head why is the arm contact deemed a foul? Why are we awarding a PENALTY shot, a near goal guarantee, from something that was NEVER going to score anyway?

WE often point out here that the attacking cheaters like Maradona and Henri who make an illegal goal by controlling the ball deliberately into the goal are pathetic as are the defenders like Sanchez who used his hands to knock a ball down from entering the goal. The thing is their actions are OBCVIOUS denying a goal or creating one!

I am TOTALLY against the current punishment of defenders for simply trying to defend their goal awarding DFK or PKs for ball arm contact and basically giving away a free scoring opportunity for NO reason. As a defender I know how easily a ball can arrive and come in unsighted or how a dummy run can suddenly alter the flight plan and a bounce up or over can suddenly have the ball crawling up your chest or arms as you desperately try to turn the body. If you read the book, Fair play it has a point about a lone defender 30 yards away from anyone taking down a high ball that whist controlling it bounces up into his arm and how harsh it would be to think this was a deliberate action though he WAS deliberately playing the ball . I fail to see how awarding PKS for inadvertent ball arm contact is = to a crunching slide tackle trip or a deliberate shirt pull from behind UNLESS it is a deliberate reach up and slap the ball away!

In part the players and coaches who screamed for more uniformity as some referees call handling and others do not for the very same type of incidents has created this lets take it all doubt away and say yes even if it is likely no because of expectations of expecting a foul is easier to award it then not! I see no reason to not make an INDFK foul out of a arm out of position being hit with the ball versus a DFK PK for an arm reaching out and pushing the ball away from the goal or pushing one into it! .

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