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Question Number: 33756

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/6/2019

RE: Rec Adult

J R WILLIAMS of Barry, United Kingdom asks...

If the ref sees an accidental hand ball in the build up to a goal, but let's the goal stand, would VAR still then overrule it?

If VAR would overrule, doesn't this mean all accidental handballs should be given, as they could all, in theory, lead to goals.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi JR,

If the player who accidentally handles the ball does not score a goal directly and does not create a goal scoring opportunity, it would be incorrect in law for VAR to inform the referee of a clear and obvious error in allowing the goal. So if the accidental handling was merely 'in the build up to a goal' and did not meet the criteria in the law for being a handling offence, the goal should not be ruled out.

The current law on accidental handling absolutely does not mean any accidental handling occurring earlier on in a move that ends in a goal should be given as an offence - it should only be given when it meets the actual criteria, which are quoted by ref McHugh below.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi J R ,
If a goal is scored off the arm of an attacker or if the goal is scored off the arm of a defender one will stand as a condition of play the other will not because under the new LOTG, the attackers are NOT permitted to gain ANY advantage off a handling that results in a goal or goal scoring opportunity. If a referee was screened and the AR missed it as well, the VAR would be obliged to point it out for the referee to see. The referee would be required to review and make a decision. VAR would only point it out if THEY felt the handling indeed had a direct impact on the goal or creating the opportunity. Handling incidents further away deemed as trifling our doubtful or even missed completely will not be reviewed or looked at!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Each incident in a game is viewed by VAR. It is called a silent check.
If VAR sees an incident that has an impact on the game such as unseen violent conduct, unseen offside, foul, handling etc that will be brought to the attention of the referee.
Now on your first question if the referee clearly sees handball by an attacker in the immediate lead up to a goal then that should be called as a direct free kick offence. It makes no difference that it is accidental as the Law now states that
** It is an offence if a player:......
gains possession/control of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then:
# scores in the opponents goal
# creates a goal-scoring opportunity
# scores in the opponents' goal directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper **
The referee cannot just deem it accidental and take no action once it is a goal scoring opportunity.
On your second point the intent of the Law is that the offence has to be immediate and not offences that happen elsewhere on the field of play unconnected with the opportunity. The VAR handbook refers to attacking phase possession (APP) will require the referee (assisted by the VAR) to determine: the point at which the attacking team gained possession of the ball and then the point at which the phase of play that led to the goal / penalty incident started. For example the ball hits a player at half way on the arm and the referee deems it accidental with play continuing and say 10 seconds later a goal is scored. That is unlikely to be reviewed by VAR and the goal will stand.
So in essence the latter is a goal scoring opportunity and the former is not.
Now the same handling close to the penalty area in the lead up to the goal will be called as it creates a goal scoring opportunity. If the referee has missed it the VAR will bring that to the attention of the referee

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