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Question Number: 33568

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 8/11/2019

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Handball " not handball?

Have only seen highlights of the Watford v Brighton EPL match, however, it would seem that there was no review of the possible HB when a Brighton player in the 'wall', jumped and the ball made contact with his forearm.

While I say 'would seem that there is no review' - there may have been one, however, they deemed it all clear, and so the play just continues.

It just seems odd that there was no request to Ref Pawson to review this one considering jumping is a deliberate action.

Could it be due to the defender may not have changes his position of his arms in the jump (compared to when stationary) 'to make himself bigger' and therefore increase his 'silhouette'.

This looks to be a good case study to discuss what might constitute 'making oneself bigger' or having an unnatural 'silhouette' etc.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Russell,
VAR operates by constantly reviewing absolutely everything that occurs. In fact, VAR is even reviewing things not shown by the main camera. So, nothing ever escapes reviews.
If the VAR is of the opinion that a clear and obvious error has occurred (in one of the jurisdiction areas - of which this would be, being a potential PK), then it's recommended for on-field review. No on-field review doesn't mean the VAR didn't review it - just that the VAR didn't think it was a clear and obvious error.

For me this is a foul any day of the week. The defender has stuck the elbow out to the side - it's on the defenders to minimise the area their arms are occupying, to a reasonable extent. There was simply no reason for the arm to be where it was - it wasn't a part of the natural jumping motion; rather it was inattention. Even if the arm was tucked in closer to the chest, with the turning to the side it would still make for an interesting discussion. But for me - given the arm was sticking out from the chest, it's simple.

My personal viewpoint is all the discussion about 'silhouette' doesn't really change much, if anything. It just puts some of the guidance we've all been practicing into writing. Old laws, new laws - it's a foul for me either way.

And my personal view is that it's such a clearcut foul is that I think it would have warranted an on-field review and a PK.
A final comment - the lack of recommendation for on-field review doesn't necessarily indicate that the VAR agreed with the referee's initial decision. It's possible for the VAR to think it may be a foul, but to have the opinion that there's sufficient doubt or argument that it hasn't reached the threshold for VAR intervention.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russell,
It is the same reason why players can not link arms in the wall, it gives a chicken wing extension and takes away space. I have yet to see it but as described it appears that a HB could be evident. That said if VAR did not pick it up , and opponents did not scream and referee and AR missed it play goes on!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
The referee Craig Pawson was looking straight at it and obviously opined it was not deliberate handling. The VAR official based on the fact that the referee had clearly seen the incident and may have communicated that between themselves then there was no point in looking at it again on review.
This is an interesting one because we have to consider the advice on handling or for that matter our 'old' understanding of handling. What referees are looking for is whether the players make themselves unnaturally bigger. In this case, Glenn Murray in the opinion of the referee felt that he did not and as it is opinion based it was not a clear and obvious error. Only the referee can call for the review so if the referee was happy with his call then that is the end of it
Another referee could see the movement as deliberate handling and award the penalty kick or for that matter ask to review it and then make the call.
Personally I felt it was handling and it should have been called in real time. It would be interesting what the referee observer on the day thought of the decision and how it was handled.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Russell,
While I have not seen the incident itself, let me just point out that under the VAR protocol all potential penalty incidents are looked at by the VAR team. However an actual review is only carried out if the referee decides one is necessary, based on the information relayed to them by the VAR. Here is how the protocol summary issued by the IFAB puts it:

''The VAR will automatically 'check' every situation/decision to see if a potential clear error has been made in a match-changing situation or if a serious incident/offence has been missed [...]

If no review is needed then communication with the referee is not necessary this is a 'silent check'. If a 'check' indicates that an incident should be reviewed, the referee should be informed immediately.''

So the incident in question would certainly have been checked but since no actual review was conducted, it would seem that no clear error was detected by the VAR and this was a 'silent check' only.

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