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Question Number: 4281

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct

RE: Rec Under 14

Catherine Klein of Casselbury, Florida Seminole asks...

I want to know more about the hand ball scenario and the discretionary terms that referees have. Girl children in this category group have very little protection in the upper chest area. A guy can wear a protective strap to protect himself but the only protection that a young girl has is crossing her arms over her developing chest area (which can be painful even without a blow). Everything that I have read with a handball indicates that if the hand ball is intentional then a free kick is the result. Surely it is within the referee's discretion to grant protective measures without penality should the ball be directed to that very vunerable part of a female teenager's body..Please explain the laws regarding handball calls.

Answer provided by Referee Dawson

HI Catherine,. I agree with you, in fact I will say it should not be a technical offence in my personal opinion. A deliberate handball is the hand going to the ball not the ball coming to the hand. Protecting face or breast if the ball strikes the hands or arms and rebounds away there is NO infraction. The hands must delberately alter the balls direction. If you place your hands and elbows to gether covering your face and breast. Have a ball shot at you if it hits those exposed arms it is NOT a foul provided they are not causing the ball to alter direction. If the arms are in the process of coming to cover up the face and hands it still might not be a foul but the hazy part is the hands or arms could be construed as moving to the ball. ONLY if you deliberately ward away the ball from getting there is it a foul...In youth games particularily this becomes an issue. At elite levels this behaviour is rarely done as the skill to play it with the head is so much greater. .THe Video USSF MYths of GAme clearly show the difference. I suggest you obtain a copy. I will also include this fine article.One of the better articles I have come across! ..Hey Ref, Handball !!! .By Ed Rae, SDI ..When a young man came up to him in Zurich, and said, ?May I kiss the hand that wrote Ulysses? James Joyce replied, somewhat like King Lear, "No, it did a lot of other things too.?- Oxford Book of Literary Anecdotes. ..On any given bright May morning. On a clear, crisp October afternoon. On gorgeous game days, otherwise pleasant grandparents in lawn chairs, yell: ?Hey Ref, handball!? Are hands doing a lot of things at 10-year-old games, that they should not be doing? ..Ah, but it is not just blue - gray haired, youth game spectators. It is not just those, who did not grow up with the game. It is not just the unschooled, shouting handball! Who then? It is seemingly knowledgeable college mentors; experienced high school staffs; players of all skill stripes; premier paid, advanced license, pedigreed coaches too. Why all the indignant vocal vibrations? ..Let?s fumble in the football archaeological digs, for the forbears of this hand thing. We can examine a London, England meeting of 1863. The seismic, redoubt of the rugby rift. An English school schism sent Association Football one way, Rugby Union another. ?No player shall carry the ball, nor pass it to another?no player shall take the ball from the ground with hands, while it is in play?? ..Hence the first Laws of the Game changed the shape of the rugby ball. Ruggers handle the elliptical ball. Footballers handle the soccer, spherical ball ? NOT ! ..Evolving over time, the sporting minds of 1891 codified the illegality, in detail: ??if any player shall?deliberately handle the ball...Handling is intentionally playing the ball with hands or arm.? (A History of the Laws of Association Football, by Sir Stan Stanley Rous and Donald Ford, FIFA, Zurich Switzerland, 1974) ..Appearing pretty clear? Yet, go to any game. Any field. Any day. Any level. Listen to chattering; to clattering; to angry, tattered tongues: .?Handball! Why isn?t the ref calling it?? ..We have an epidemic of invincible ignorance. Everywhere. So it seems. The legendary street smarts, of Josh Billings chide: ?It is better to know nothin?, than to know what ain?t so.? ..Intimidated, inexperienced referees often blow cold whistles, on innocent players. This contradicts the referees? chart of the FIFA International Board: ??not unless the hand or arm strikes or propels the ball, it is not a foul: far too often a player is penalized when the ball touches the arm or hand through no individual action??(1976) ..Usually High School Federation and NCAA college rules follow this international lead. The spirit of the laws is universal. World Cup famed referee, Jack Taylor, lends a practical viewpoint: ?It is sometimes difficult to decide if a player has handled intentionally or just been struck by the ball?you can give the benefit of the doubt, where players are not so highly trained or so swift to react.? ..?The act is not criminal unless the intent is criminal."- Ancient legal maxim .The British Football Association booklet (1986), Know the Game, states: ?It may be impossible for a player to avoid ?handling? the ball, having no time to withdraw a hand or arm, before the ball strikes?even though?may thus gain advantage, because the ball is directed along a different path; if it was unintentional, the referee should not penalize it.? ..The NCAA rule; ?Unintentional handling (the ball touches the hand or arms) shall not be penalized, even though the player or that player?s team gains an advantage by such unintentional handling.? ..Why then, all the hoots and howls? Hippocrates advises, ?Life is short, the art long. Timing is exact, experience through judgment difficult.? ..Often partisan fans, influence-bent coaches, biased players - all- get paid in their own coin: fateful free kicks, painful penalty kicks, against their side. Enjoyable play, in the soi-disant ?handball? din, dims. This bogus call, like the grim reaper, cuts down all sides, all players. Flow stutters. Game spirit stifled. Injustice. Ignorance prevails. ..How to judge? .Did the ball hit the hand? No whistle .Was it an instinctive, reflexive reaction? No call. .Protecting vital body parts? No call. .Was it just an aimless, bouncing ball? Nothing then. .Accident? No call. .No fault? No call. .Not on purpose? No call. .Did hand hit ball? Rare. But it might happen. If, in the opinion of the referee, it was deliberate, then, and only then make the call. .Many officials routinely make faux calls. Inadvertent balls striking hands. In the middle of the field. The same referees then later become shy. Never a sorry whistle inside the 44 x 18. Or worse, misguided somehow, they let all other accidental incidents go, then trumpet ugly-a penalty kick out of the clear, inconsistent blue. ..?An error cannot be believed sincerely enough, to make it the truth." - Robert Ingersol ..Just because it looks bad; simply because it appears advantageous; only because people yell- does not make anything illegal. Not at all. With experience, there is hope officials will summon courage enough to evaluate, not the result of the act, but whether or not it was deliberate. ..Then maybe we will hear, "Hey Ref, good no-call !? cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

What you describe is exactly what advice to referees says about reflexively protecting your body. The LOTG were not published to prevent little kids from protecting themselves. If a little girl reflexively protects her chest area and does not redirect the ball, there is no offense

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Answer provided by Referee Fredrikssonk

I did not know we had a poet in our board, an applaud to my colleague Dawson! Sad though, I have to disagree with him. The FIFA rules in this matter are very vague "handles the ball deliberately". When does one handle the ball deliberately? To help referees answering this question, the National Football Associations have come up with guidelines. Unfortunately, these guidelines vary from country to country. In Sweden, we call reflexive handball as a foul, even though one is protecting vulnerable body parts. In USA for example, they do not. Which country who has interpreted the rules right and which has interpreted the rules wrong, I cannot say. Regards

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