Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 33765

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/10/2019

RE: Pensioner Other

Joseph search of Warrington , Cheshire England asks...

In the Liverpool Man City game today I dont believe the ref or var gave the penalty because the new law states if an attacker handles the ball any goal that results from it must be ruled out. What do you think thanks

Answer provided by Referee MrRef

Before the advent of VAR and the amendment to the deliberate handling interpretation in the Laws the only debate would have been whether the referee got the decisions correct on the day in real time.
In real time the referee was of the opinion that neither handling in the Liverpool penalty area were reasons to award a penalty either for deliberate handling or a free kick for a handling that created a goal scoring opportunity.
One can surmise that on review VAR did not see either handling as clear errors that needed correcting. Certainly not to chalk off a goal at the other end.
On the Liverpool one it is a judgement call as to arm position and therein still lies the challenge for the game as many referees can see this as handling and they would not be wrong in Law and neither are those in the no handling camp.
While some progress has been made on deliberate handling it is far from satisfactory
The application of VAR is also in its infancy and its application in the Premier League and elsewhere is causing difficulties. Throw in to the mix offside by inches into the mix and there is a clear need for IFAB to revisit these through its various working groups.

Read other questions answered by Referee MrRef

View Referee MrRef profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Joseph,
It's an interesting situation and all the misinformation on social media makes it difficult to understand.
First off there's the attacking handball. Personally I think the arms were making the body unnaturally bigger so I think it's a foul regardless of what happens next.
Second we have the defensive handling - again, the arms are making the body unnaturally bigger. Now, while there was a deflection, this consideration is cancelled out when the arms are making the body unnaturally bigger. So, that's also a foul.
Some people have talked about the City handling being accidental and the Liverpool one being a foul, thus a penalty kick being awarded. This would certainly be possible - and people have then argued that because even accidental handling leading to a GoalScoring Opportunity is now a foul, that would cancel out the penalty.

What those people are missing is that for that to be a consideration, the attacking team must actually gain possession / control after the handling. As this doesn't occur, we don't have to worry about the 'accidental attacking handball' issue. The fact that they have possession from the PK - which is after a restart - is not what the law is getting at.

Now, what if they did have control from their handling and Liverpool handled it? Would the PK count as a GSO? The law does not say either way - I daresay IFAB/FIFA didn't envision this scenario.

So moving forwards, I believe that both handling offences are fouls. I've established why a PK wouldn't be awarded - but Liverpool cannot obtain an advantage after they've committed a foul. But if we go back to that, then the argument has to be made that they only committed a foul as an almost unavoidable outcome of the City foul (some say that wasn't a foul, and if you have that opinion it changes what the outcome would be).

So personally, I think the correct outcome would be to disallow the goal due to the Liverpool handling but award Liverpool a FK due to the City handling.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Joseph,
At least according to the PGMOL, the handling by Silva was accidental and so has no bearing on the matter. I would have to say I agree with that logic. They then went on to say:

''The VAR checked the penalty appeal for handball against Trent Alexander‑Arnold and confirmed the on-field decision that it did not meet the considerations for a deliberate handball.''

They don't explain exactly why they judged the incident this way but if I had to speculate, I'd say that they must have decided it was a ball that came at him off a player who was close and that his hand/arm had not made his body ''unnaturally bigger'' - though I'm sure some people would disagree with that.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Joseph
As the ball hit Silva's hand first although maybe not deliberately that might have been called a direct free kick to Liverpool if it was deemed to create a goal scoring opportunity
Now the ball then hit Alexander-Arnold on the arm and it is a judgement call whether it was also deliberate or not. The referee decided it was not.
The next time play stops, the ball is in the Man City net so the review would say possible handball by City, advantage and no handball by Liverpool so the goal was good.
It is a matter of opinion as always whether the Liverpool and City players arms were in a natural position and that can be debated for ever.
If a penalty had been awarded would it have been be ruled out for handling by Silva?
As to VAR the only point of debate is whether play should have been stopped when play got to a neutral position say at half way or not to consider these two key incidents.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33765
Read other Q & A regarding Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.