Saliba’s handball was never a penalty – Let’s kick this stupid rule out of football

My fellow confused Gooners, after the penalty given to Chelsea against Arsenal, I wish to discuss the farce of what used to be known as hand ball, which worked perfectly well and without undue complication for most of football history. Until the idiot lawmakers decided, for reasons fathomable only to themselves, to turn hand ball into ball to hand, thus causing controversy after controversy and ruining games without any benefit at all to anybody, least of all to we life blood fans who keep football alive.

I have watched games regularly as most of us have, and been more and more angry at the sheer idiocy of how any player is supposed to jump to head or attack a football with both hands unnaturally clasped behind his back. The constant nonsense we are fed by TV and radio pundits who stupidly claim that “his hand was in an unnatural position” makes me want to spit with rage and frustration.

I admit to not suffering fools gladly, as many of my posts across the JA years will testify! This is sheer rubbish, as the natural place for anyone’s arm is between his shoulder and his hand and that same arm goes quite naturally into various positions when attacking the ball with either head, body or feet.

The ONLY unnatural place would if he stuck it up someone’s bloody @!#%!

Why don’t the fool lawmakers use their brains!! Perhaps those same brains are not in a “natural position” inside their skull, but stuffed in a draw somewhere within FIFA s headquarters!

These last few weeks we have watched farce after farce, as players who have not moved their hand or arm towards the ball have been unfairly penalised by penalties or sending offs for doing nothing wrong at all. For simply committing the “crime” of owning an arm on each shoulder which the ball is deflected onto by an opposing player or by a part of their own anatomy which is not an arm.

Either way the sheer injustice and rank idiocy of the supposed knowledgeable football experts, who claim to know what they are talking about rankles and festers inside me, as I HATE, LOATHE AND DETES INNOCENT PLAYERS BEING WRONGLY CONVICTED OF HANDBALL, WHEN WHAT WE ACTUALLY HAVE IS BALL TO HAND, SOMETHING THAT FOR DECADES WAS NEVER A PROBLEM!!

I watched this last weekend and last weekend too as Liverpool were cheated at Spuds and then Everton were cheated at Liverpool, both because their defender had an arm attached innocently to their shoulder, which they could not get out of the way of a split second deflected ball which happened to hit their arm.

*Note: “it hit their arm” and NOT their arm hit it!

And the last straw for me was the injustice of our own beloved team being cheated as Chelsea were awarded a VAR (UGH!!!) decided penalty at Chelsea when the ball hit Saliba’s arm. NOT his arm hit the ball, please note!!

I say enough is enough and I urge all right thinking Gooners too to say we are sick to death of this constant farce which is ruining game after game with injustice and to call loudly and clearly for the return to sanity and the return of hand ball, meaning a deliberate attempt to move arm or hand to block the ball and NOT the other way around. It is easy but for brainless law makers in footballs authorities, something easy is far too difficult to get their brains around and change back to how it worked before hand ball became ball hand.

My friends, join me please in urging all who care to go back to when hand ball meant hand to ball and not ball to hand It is ruining our beloved sport and it is blatantly unfair.

I DO NOT, AND NEVER WILL ACCEPT OBVOUS UNFAIRNESS AND STUPIDITY BY FOOTBALLS LAWMAKERS, So please join my campaign to rid our game of this menace!

Thank you for reading this “call a spade a spade” type piece.


Jon Fox

Tags Chelsea v Arsenal handball Saliba


    1. 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

  1. Even VAR its self is spoiling the game due to its controversy then this shameless guys they say sorry
    after causing lose to clubs and on handball its supposed to be the hand to ball not the ball @ hand
    because ball @ hand is not intentional yet hand to
    ball is intentional, they why on fauls they follow the intention ?were tired of that nosense

  2. The clearing out of Jesus by the Chelsea goalkeeper was a penalty but no VAR interference even though it was clear and obvious. I could possibly accept the handball decision if there is consistency in all ref decisions. It was a very harsh penalty and I think in situations like that maybe if the hand contact stopped a clear goal bound effort then ok but the ball was not shot on target and VAR could easily determine that. Either way no idea how we walked away with a draw.

  3. Would you say that FIFA, EUFA and the PGMOL have corrupted the game Jon?

    By the way, the punishment for Michael Oliver after his display at the city game?

    He refereed the Sheffield United vs Manchester United game.

    1. Though I ha d hoped that vsuch a long time, wise and dedicated fan such as you are KEN , would at least have had the courtesy to comment on my poiece , rather rthan asking me a questyon first, I will nevertheless gladly answer your question thus: YES OF COURSE those three (dis) organisations are CORRUPT, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM AND WE ALL KNOW IT.
      Though I still do not agree that refs actually cheat teams.

      But they are wildly inconsistent as we can all see and something urgent and drastic needs to be done to cure the appalling general refs standard which, with a tiny few exceptions, is DREADFUL!

      Now will YOU please comment on my piece, which seems to have found accord with all who have courteously replied to me.

      1. Jon, see below regarding my thoughts on your article – I’m in 100% agreement… it was your article that made me ask the question that I’ve been asking you for years and that is “Is he game of football corrupt from top to bottom?”

      2. How can you on one hand say that the organizations are corrupt from top to bottom including PGMOL and then on another hand say that refs don’t actually cheat. That’s more like an oxymoron. If PGMOL is corrupt then there are refs who actually cheat because at the end of the day, their corrupt practices will directly influence matches and actual refs are the tools used to perpetuate that corruption. They are the final stage of that corruption.

        1. No, not at all True.

          The PGMOL is far more than just refs. It is an organisation in itself with other people in it besides refs.

          It is also a political organisation, whereas refs simply referee matches . So you are plain wrong and it is NOT an oxymoron at all.

          Refs are merely a part of it. You really ought to have known that, old son!

          1. Yes Jon – they ARE part of it and, therefore, bear the same responsibility as the other parts.

            In fact, as they are THE actual deliverers of the rules, they should be reporting back about the farcical situations.
            But with no repurcussions, I believe they have no reason to rock the boat.

            1. Thank you Ken you’re absolutely right. And Jon I still stand by what I said. Refs are the final stage of that corruption and as such a part of the decay. There’s no excusing the refs. How can you tell me that the whole refs behind VAR forgot to draw an offside line? Lol really?

              Go back and read what referee Hailey had to say about PGMO and corruption, directly accusing them and saying he was told to do certain things. This by the way came from an actual EPL ref.

              1. And I stand by what I KNOW to betrue too. The refs in it are merely pawns doing as they are instructed. Only those in real power within it with are the chiefs and NOT the many indians who have no REAL power. Which was my point all along.

                  1. No Chapo, argue your point of view!!
                    Jon, you make no sense at all – it’s the referees who hold the power, as it is these officials who’s interpretation of the rules (I include the VAR officials) make the on field decisions as THEY see it.

                    It’s should be as obvious as the nose on your face, that they are getting it wrong week after week, hence the apologies and discussions from Howard Webb.

                    1. I could drop bundles of evidences that points to corruption from the refs themselves but that will be useless because there’s no convincing Jon. No matter what you say to Jon or try to prove to him, he’s never changing that rigid belief of his. Even in the face of new and overwhelming evidences. That’s why I had to stop arguing because trying to prove that to Jon was a dead end

  4. Very well said Jon.The rulemakers seem to be a law unto themselves and it will need a concerted effort by every single Chairman of every professional side in the Football league to make them see sense.Indeed such a campaign may need to be embraced by every League in Europe to get the message across and bring about an appropriate revisal of this “law” which is ruining our game and causing numerous examples of sheer injustice every week.It’s getting to the stage where I can hardly bear to watch matches in the knowledge that another injustice is just around the corner.

  5. Yes Jon it’s the rule makers at fault (and VAR observers) not the commonly referred to “corrupt” referees as they are just doing as directed, the ref didn’t see a penalty against Chelsea but was basically told there was one by the VAR (possibly corrupt) idiots. As soon as the ref goes to the monitor you know the result!

    1. GB, the rule makers didn’t tell Michael Oliver to ignore the challenge on Rice or to deem the tackle on Odegaard as just a yellow card against city.
      Neither did they tell the referee to ignore the assault on Gabriel during the chelsea game.
      We are NOT getting any kind of consistency since Howard Webb took over, just platitudes and the normal “We’ll take this on board, learn from it and improve” followed by the letter to the club(s) apologising.

      There is no consistency within the PGMOL, none whatsoever…. except with this ridiculous handball rule that, funnily enough, both VAR and the referees get correct by using the letter of the law.

      I agree 100% with Jon’s article by the way, but to focus on one stupid rule, being properly interpreted for once, while not addressing the mistakes made by NOT following the rule book game after game after game is just the tip of the iceberg.

      The PGMOL answers to no one, police their own members, who receive NO direct punishment for their mistakes – that is corruption!!

      1. I agree with you Ken and thank you for commenting on my piece. I had not read this post when I replied to you above. To be perfectly clear , I believe you have in thr past misundertstood my whole view on how the game is reffed.

        Though I do NOT accept that individual refs set out to cheat clubs, I DO agree that the constant inconsistency on decisions is unacceptable and that we should organise a nationwide fan petition-as Kenya 001 suggested above- and get hundreds of thousands of fed up to the back teeth fans to sign it and force the lawmakers to see sense at long last.
        At worst, it can do no harm and it would show those idiots that we ordinary fans have had more than enough of their brainless nonsense.

        1. Here is another fact to ponder over Jon – watch how the chelsea players and manager react when the ball strikes Saliba… they run after him, surround him and demand the penalty, with the chelsea fans right behind them.
          I suggest that EVERY OTHER CLUB would do the same and therein lies the problem.
          When it goes for one, it’s great, but when it doesn’t the complaints flood in from the media and players.

          It is the most ridiculous rule, along with not putting the flag up for offside until the move plays out, that the idiots who run the game have ever brought into the game.

          1. ken I firmly believ ethat almost all fabns everywher are fed upo wuith all tht manay inconsistenciea and thr way that pewrefectly easy to underastnd laws have become distorted ina foolisgh effort to change things rthat worked perfectly wel for much of footbal history. One of my real beefs is with free kicks wher therefs themselves cauzse a great delof delay Why do thdey just not say that ANY free kick, onc dwhistel f for MUST be taken wirthing 15 seconds from tth whistke or revert to thtothe rteam Players who refuse to move the ten yards or encroach should be yellow carded and red carded if repeated. If those were applied CONSISTENTLY by ALL refs and those refs who refused to comply were demoted for a long period, it would work.
            I would bin the silly shaving foam farce completely , it just wastes still more time Just apply the rules CONSISTENTLY AND PUNISH BOTH REFS AND PLAYERS, HEAVILY, WHO DO NOT CO-OPERATE. There is not the will to apply simple to understand laws and so the lunatics are running the asylum. The real problem lies with lawmakers not insisting that laws are enforced.


            1. Indeed, but I think our differences lie with the belief that I see referees as the lawmakers on the pitch and they, quite plainly, do not insist that the laws are enforced… because they don’t enforce them themselves.

                1. Making decisions that are corrupting the game Jon – you choose the word cheat, I use the word corrupt… the problem being that you didn’t think there was different usages of that word, until it was pointed out to you.

  6. Takeaways from the article:

    1. Those who run FIFA have their brains in an unnatural position

    2. The ref will punish anyone who commits the offence of owning an arm

  7. Brilliant piece Jon!

    I must commend your deep passion for change, as demonstrated in your article! Change really begins when people consistently discuss an issue of concern more openly and passionately. Ultimately, in this case, it is up to the fans to take decisive actions, without which, nothing will change.

    I hope fans everywhere unite in taking visible actions, whether it is through well organized protests, raising placards, or collective voices from popular YouTubers on the subject matter. Only then can we anticipate real change.

    Otherwise, and sadly so, this compelling article may simply sojourn into the archives, just like many before it.

    Once again, a beautifully written piece that is long overdue!


    1. On top of the protests, I’d say put a petition to the FA and FIFA. Let them know we ain’t taking it kindly the FOOLISH ball hand ” LAW” they have inducted to the beautiful game . ENOUGH is ENOUGH

      1. Kenya 001, A fan petition is a wonderful and wise idea. I would gladly sign it. If some keen fan anywhere had the time and inclination to orgnaise such a great suggestion, I suspect he or she would earn the everlasting gratitude of fans across our land.

    2. Fire you truly are a life enhancer with your constant ability to see the best in everyone and tell them so, even when as in my case, it is undeserved.

  8. Jon, Just as I started reading this article there was no iota of doubt in my mind who the writer was. I really admire your no-nonsense and forthright approach to issues. I further respect your unprincipled stand never to suffer any fools. It is indeed ridiculous, to say the least, to punish a player for behaving as a normal human being! Does this mean that today’s football is for abnormal people or robots?
    What aggravated the situation was the outright denial of a penalty to Arsenal when Jesus was knocked in the box by the keeper! Was this deliberate omission or a glaring act of double standards? For how long are we going to tolerate injustice meted out to certain teams by biased or corrupt officials? Within the last two weeks alone Liverpool, Arsenal and Wolves have lost valuable points to either incompetent or biased match officials. This is the second time in the last few weeks Arsenal is being denied justice, the first time being the Man City game. Fortunately in the Man City game justice was done and we won it.
    For how long can right thinking football fans tolerate these antics by some match officials? Something has to be done about these acts of injustice and the sooner the better. Remember justice delayed is justice denied.

  9. Well written piece Jon, indeed action needs to be taken and we fans MUST be at the forefront advocating for the change in rule that is blantantly UNJUST.

  10. I agree Jon. The handball rule was straight forward back in the day. It is now much more complicated. I just don’t understand how Saliba was expected to make that body movement and have his arms anywhere other than where they were. There was nothing unnatural about it and he didn’t gain any unfair advantage from it.

    1. Actually, the rule, if interpreted sensibly, is not unreasonable:
      “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”.
      If you apply the above to Saliba it is difficult to understand how we now have so many justifying the decision. I have seen a lot of pundits and ex-players claim that the rule means that a penalty was inevitable in that situation.

  11. I don’t know how Saliba was expected to jump or move around. Sometimes common sense needs to be applied with these VAR officials.
    Even during the Ref watch on Sky sports they seemed perplexed as well.

  12. 100% right Jon. Also the Chelsea goalkeeper’s cleaning out of Gabby Jesus was the most obvious penalty since the last f-up PGMOL admitted to. Farcical refereeing.

    1. 👍Sean. a straight forward decision for awarding a penalty (foul in the box by a defender) the officials/VAR incompetently failed to make.

  13. If it’s a penalty, then it simply means you are no longer allowed to use your arms for balance and leverage when jumping. Players now have to jump with their arms down by their sides.

    Lastly, no one can defend VAR anymore. The whole system is farcical, and we can see clear as day the bias some people have, because many of the decisions are now beyond incompetence!

  14. More than that handball were the multiple brutal tackles on Jesus by Palmer, Silva and Sanchez. Saka also received savage treatment by Cucurella. It’s an on going event for Arsenal players since last season. So many tackles that could have ended their careers went unpunished. Last season, Caicedo sent Martinelli to the injury room while Arsenal was fighting for the title. Kovacic could have broken both Odegaard and Rice ankles this month. Meanwhile I think Arsenal is the only team which got red card for alleged time wasting in Tomiyasu. That ridiculous double yellow cards hence red card for Martinelli last year also lingers my mind. What on earth is going on in EPL?

  15. Sure look at the Che player in that picture up top he has his arms out in a natural position to keep balance

  16. For Jon
    Nice article with plenty of passion in it. I also agree something needs to be done.

    But the problem remains as long as VAR gets involved. If they have to guess that it is intentional there is a grey area as the person committing the crime would need to go for a lie detector test which also is not conclusive.

    Why not let the referee govern the game and (accept that there are going to be some human errors) use VAR for only selected decisions like career ending tackles or the offside where they can draw the line (despite the fact they have made errors in the past) plus off course goal line technology which is clear cut.
    Accept referees need help but why not have 6 linesmen in total, 2 on the sides but covering only one half plus 2 at either ends who can cover if the linesmen are not in position in addition to a longitudinal way and not a latitudinal way. So creating a kind of spreadsheet for them to focus on the rows and columns.

  17. A very nice piece there bro! These people are never consistent with their decisions. VAR controversies and referees ineptitude are ruining this lovely game.

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