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Question Number: 33511

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 7/9/2019

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33504

'usually' v 'not usually' !!

As Ref Grove mention's " some of the new wording is still open for debate on DHB.

The LOTG seem to make contradictions (or at least counter arguments) when the they state within the 'It is usually an offence if a player:'
'The above offences apply even if the ball touches a players hand/arm directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close.'

... and then state within the 'Except for the above offences, it is not usually an offence'
... that...
'directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close'

Both areas mention 'other players' and 'close'.

That could be challenging for a ref of some experience, let alone a new one.
Lots of scope for ITOOTR there.

Ref McHugh is on the money with removing the subjectivity, and ref Dawson picks up the important technical point - regarding goal scoring opportunity, while adding in the vitally important 'spirit of the game' application of (any) Law.

The wording /definition around DHB is getting better, but still room for improvement.

Downunder, here, we are lucky we get to see all of this unfold in the WWC, COPA and AFCON - and see the debates and learnings unfold.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russel,
we often debate on the back pages here on situations like you describe. We are not always in agreement with one another or FIFA lol but we are very much into sorting out myth from fact. In cases where ITOOTR still factor into any decision, where we have no VAR no replay, no one is looking over our shoulder. We answer to the players on the pitch and try our best to see the match is fair, safe & fun . No matter what you decide, apply it at both ends equally, if it is not a foul, in your opinion, 'NO whistle Accidental PLAY!!' Yet if you follow the push as IFAB & FIFA are making it UNFAIR to receive an advantage from a handling from either attackers or defenders. Despite the fact that it is not a truly deliberate foul of intent to play that ball with the hand, you will still struggle to apply the supposed exceptions where a player is in theory not to be punished for ball/hand contact. The ideology as far as I can see is the action of a player who challenges for ball possession or makes a play for the ball has attempted with INTENT to do so and FIFA finds this fact to be the overriding basis if the hands become involved.

A defending player, not challenging for the ball, unaware of a shot occurring is picking himself up off the ground, gets hit by a ball on the arm, there is no foul, even if it stopped a goal because he had no intent to play the ball, unlike a challenge . Yet if he was an attacker and that ball was actually denied from entering the goal, only to bounce to another attacker who scored or that bounce then deflected off a defender for an own goal, we are not to permit the goal. That is despite knowing the goal would have occurred, except it hit his arm by accident.

My suggestion is be consistent you have to understand that is what they are trying to achieve! A measure of consistency so a pk at one end and a no call at the other DOES NOT OCCUR for the same sort of event. That unfortunately means a lesser intent on the part of the guilty player ! In essence he is punished because his arms are connected to the body and they follow him around when he attempts to play the ball! ;o)

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
The Laws of the Game are written in such a way that on matter of interpretation that it is not prescriptive yet allows a great deal of latitude to referees in making a decision.
I can look at a handling situation and opine it is not an offence while another referee can see it differently. The challenge is to try to bring consistency in the calls so that the majority of referees are on the same page.
When I look at show of hands at training sessions on videos it is rarely unanimous sometimes even 50/50. Case in point is the slide tackle handling debate.
Case in point was the penalty award in the Brazil v Peru game. Was the ball hitting the arm on that slide challenge deliberate handling or not. A straw poll of refs would in my opinion give differing decisions and is supported in law.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
What the IFAB is evidently saying here is that while it is ''not usually an offence'' when the ball comes off ''another player who is close,'' it still is (usually) an offence if the player ''has made their body unnaturally bigger [or] the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level'' even if it comes at them from a player who is close by.

What they seem to be saying is that whereas what used to be called an ''unexpected ball'' in old money is not normally an offence, if the player has made their body unnaturally bigger in an apparent attempt to block a ball that might come from or deflect off an opponent, even though that opponent is nearby, that is still to be considered as an offence (usually).

To me, it is precisely the use of the 'usually/not usually' phraseology that leaves the main scope for individual interpretation of the law.

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