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Question Number: 33109

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 3/3/2019

Demetrios of Limassol, Cyprus asks...

Hello, i am wondering why a penalty was given for a handball between Napoli v Juventus.The defender didn't have any intention to play the ball with his hand and besides the defender was very closed to the attacker. This penalty rule is interpreted differently in premier league. I think an order should be given for this rule by Fifa.Please what is your opinion on this matter

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Demetrios
Not deliberate handling for me. Ball is struck from short distance off the Juve players arm. Harsh penalty decision in my opinion.
IFAB is about to issue new interpretation of deliberate handling following its recent AGM
The changes to deliberate handling will mean that gaining control or possession and then scoring as a consequence of handling the ball will not be allowed - neither will a goal scored directly from handling the ball, regardless of intent.
Another change to the laws of the game means that if the player's arms extend beyond a *natural silhouette* handball will be given, even if it is perceived as accidental.
IFAB states that the body has a certain silhouette and if the arms are extended beyond that silhouette then the body is being made unnaturally bigger, with the purpose of it being a bigger barrier to the opponent or the ball. Players should be allowed to have their arms by their side because its their natural silhouette.
It will be interesting to see what IFAB means by natural silhouette as players have to move their arms as part of natural playing movement. In the Juve situation I do not see the player having his arms extended unnaturally beyond what would expected in such situations. Obviously under VAR review the referee decided that the defender had his arm in a slightly raised position which made him bigger. He then decided that as the ball struck the raised arm he awarded the penalty kick.
For me it takes no account of the way the defender got to that position nor does it take any account of the defender being totally unable to avoid the ball which was struck from short distance.
Perhaps the decision reflects the way that DHB is going at the higher levels which has VAR. Without VAR there is little chance of this being given as handling.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Demetrios,
I haven't seen the incident in question but I have seen plenty of handball offences given for scenarios that match your description, that I think should not be given. Ever since handling the ball was outlawed, the main consideration for judging handling offences has been that it had to be deliberate and for many years now, one of the factors to be considered was ''the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)''

So in the situation you describe, where an unexpected ball hits a player's hand from close range, I have always believed the law was telling us this should not be given as a deliberate handling offence.

Now unfortunately (as far as I can tell, not having seen the final wording yet) it seems the IFAB is breaking with that long-established principle of only punishing deliberate handball and is introducing a fundamental change into how handling is to be judged in future.

As I say, we have to wait until we see the actual wording changes in full but from what is being widely reported, it looks as if in future, handling will be judged in an entirely different manner and even examples such as the one you have given may be seen as offences, even if the ball was unexpected.

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