Referees agree to make change to handball law after Tottenham controversy
The international Football Association Board – the authority in charge of determining the laws of the game – have voted to update the handball rule, as report the football.london.
IFAB confirmed that the rule now dictates that an accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence after their annual general meeting on Friday afternoon.
The decision comes just one day after the controversial decision to rule out Josh Maja’s ‘equaliser’ for Fulham against Tottenham at Craven Cottage due to a perceived handball by Mario Lemina in the build up.
In an official statement on their website IFAB confirmed that handballs will now only be given under certain circumstances.
These include when a player “deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, for example moving the hand/arm towards the ball” or when a player “touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger.”
The statement went on to add: “A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation.”
The latest update will be of no use to Fulham though who ended up losing the match 1-0 due to a first half own goal from Tosin Adarabioyo.
Although the decision to rule Maja’s goal out was technically correct, Cottagers boss Scott Parker accused the lawmakers and VAR of ruining the sport with continually controversial decisions after the match.
“It is the rule – I think it’s crazy,” he said.
“I’m complaining at the rule. We want it to be the most entertaining league in the world, with goals. I don’t know what [Lemina] can do.
“We just need some common sense. We are trying to make football so pure and sterile it becomes unrealistic.”
In reaction to the law announcement Parker remained unconvinced and suggested the VAR will continue to cause problems for the game while it is in place.
“I’ve heard they’ve just decided to change the handball rule. We’re looking for perfection, which ultimately will destroy the game because it’s about raw emotion,” he said.
It has been a controversial season all round for the handball law with plenty of penalties – such as the one for Newcastle against Spurs’ Eric Dier – being given earlier in the season due to what were widely viewed as overly harsh decisions.
The rule was softened in September to allow players more leeway, but now the decision has been taken to try and clarify it even further after continued anger around its perceived ineptitude.