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Question Number: 33087

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 2/22/2019

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Wondering if the panel have any insight to the proposed changes to handling the ball that are said to be introduced soon?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russel in a bid to be consistent instead if actually determining if it is accidental or on purpose they will likely go down if the ball hits the arm in a playing mode (in other words you as a player are trying to play it it will be deliberate even if you have no intention to do so.) Then if there is an advantage after a non deliberate accident they want to take away any goal or scoring opportunity that might arise because it seems unseemly!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
We will have to wait until after the IFAB AGM on the 2/3 March to see the extent of what is being proposed.
The most significant clarifications it would appear relate to 'non-deliberate' handball situations, where there is an unfair 'outcome/benefit' due to the ball making contact with a player's hand/arm (e.g. a goal should not be allowed if the ball goes directly into the goal from a player's hand/arm or if a player gains control/possession of the ball from contact with hand/arm and then scores or creates a goal-scoring opportunity.
Personally I believe that those would not make much if any difference as many referees make the call based on the unfairness anyway rather than whether it was deliberate or not in those circumstances. It was reported that two goals involving non deliberate handling awarded in the EPL resulted in PGMOL advising referees not to award goals in such circumstances. That seem to suggest the change may be VAR related and putting into Law what is current advice at senior level. The big ticket item for me is the ball striking a player on the arm and deciding if it was deliberate or not in other key circumstances.
Case in point is this call. I believe it was the correct call although many felt it was not deliberate and the arm was in a natural position?
The question I pose is whether the defender could have avoided the ball had he tried?

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
As ref McHugh says, we'll have to wait for the IFAB's AGM to find out for sure but there have been a few indications here and there.

For instance, there were a number of ideas related to handling offences that are mentioned on the the IFAB's Play Fair! website although it should be noted that these were more in the nature of 'items for discussion' and would not necessarily lead to official proposals at an AGM.

Included on that site were the following ideas:

''a player who deliberate scores a goal with the hands should be punished with a sending-off (red card) in the same way that a player who stops a goal with the hands is sent off

a goalkeeper who handles a deliberate pass or throw-in from a team mate should be penalised with a penalty and not an indirect free kick (and the appropriate disciplinary sanction)

the referee should be able to award a goal if a defender stops a goal being scored by handling the ball on (or very close to) the goal line''

I have to say that I think the first idea is a bit harsh (a yellow card is sufficient for me) and I am strongly opposed to the second one. I feel it would go totally against the entire principle and concept of having the goalkeeper as a player who is supposed to use their hands in defence of their team's goal in the first place. The idea of awarding a 'penalty goal' in the circumstances described seems a more promising one, the trick would be to find a sufficiently clear form of wording.

While it is not included on the Play Fair! website, I have also seen a fair amount of discussion along the lines ref McHugh mentions, of not allowing an 'unfair outcome' such as a goal being scored, when the ball comes off a player's hand.

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