Would you change the crazy handball rules?

Would You Change The HandBall Rule? by Dan Smith

When a manager is complaining about a decision which BENEFITS his team, you know there is something wrong with that particular rule. That’s what Steve Bruce did this weekend after his side were awarded a stoppage time penalty.

In 28 Premiership Fixtures played this season, there’ve been an incredible 20 pens. A Lot of them were caused by VAR, which instead of pointing out obvious errors are instead dissecting every single decision.

Yet for once I can’t blame Video Technology for all the amount of spot kicks, but the new laws defining what constitutes as a handball or not.

Ironically, FIFA had only just torn up last year’s rule that any attacking player scoring with the ball having hit their arm, that goal would be disallowed, accident or not. So having fixed that, they have now caused confusion in the opposite area.

The current legislation for a handball reads …….

The hand/arm is clearly away from the body and outside the “body line”.
The player clearly leans into the path of the ball.
The ball travels some distance.
The ball touches a hand/arm that is clearly raised above the shoulder.
The player falls and the hand/arm is extended laterally or vertically away from the body.
A deflection clearly makes no difference to the ball touching a hand/arm that is clearly extended away from the body and/or above the shoulder.

Going by that protocol, you can understand why Dier was penalised for his actions on Sunday. Officials are paid a lot of money not to agree with the rules but to strictly follow them. No different to any job. Me or you are paid by an employer to adhere to their ethos and follow their policies and procedures, not necessarily to agree with them.

I feel sorry for referees because they cannot win under the current handball laws.

It’s got to the point where players are just knocking the ball into the box and the moment it makes contact with anyone’s body they are protesting, just because they know Stanley Park are watching everything.

While he was noble post-match, the Newcastle coach wasn’t exactly telling Andy Carroll not to appeal for a pen every time he flicked a header into someone’s body.

Think about next weekend. If a ref follows the current guidelines, he/she knows they will get ridiculed by the public for ‘killing the game.’

Yet they can’t now fear to follow this protocol, as that would be unfair to those punished in the first 3 weeks.

While the games governing body needs to step in and rectify their own rules, surely you can’t do that now till pre-season.

You can’t just less than a month into a competition change the rules based on a Jose Mourinho strop (funny how he didn’t say Spurs were being disrespected when given a bye in the Carabao Cup) or because Gary Neville says so.

Integrity of the sport dictates everything needs to be level. You can’t have one rule in September, then a different version in October.

In a game where the margin between success and failure is small, a Man United or Tottenham could miss out on the top 4 based on recent handball decisions. You can’t have Andy Carroll doing what he did at the Lane being enough to win a penalty, but then suddenly the exact same incident getting a different decision…

What are your Views On The Handball Rule?

Be Kind In The Comments

Dan Smith

5 Comments

  1. Grandad says:

    I am very glad you have raised this highly controversial subject Dan which deserves a huge response because it is so important.I think Roy Hodgson summed it up very well when he more or less suggested that we have complicated what should be a simple rule in that a player should be penalized only when the referee considers the handball to be deliberate.If we carry on with the rule in its present form, there is a real risk of players deliberately targeting the arm area with a view to winning free kicks and penalties.We cannot let this happen to our game.

  2. Val says:

    YES YES YES
    this needs to change and fast.
    I know Dier is a spud and I love them dropping points every week, I really do but when 2 player go up in the air, the first one misses it and the player behind heads the ball on to his arm, there is nothing he can do about it, not a single thing.
    The new rule is so stupid.
    FIFA need to go on a study of natural body movement when doing things, how certain parts of the body move in reaction to another part of the body moving.
    Its so stupid, players don’t run around like bloody penguins FIFA

  3. jon fox says:

    Good article as usual DAN but I differ from you in that I want it changed now, not at end of season. I actually badly want VAR binned completely for far more than just the ridiculous handball reasons.
    I have consistently argued against VAR THOUGH NOT GOAL LINE TECHNOLOGY WHICH WORKS PERFECTLY , (APART FROM ONE FREAK INCIDENT BUT HAS PROVED A HUGE SUCCESS OVERALL).

    VAR UNDERMINES THE AUTHORITY OF THE ONFIELD REF AND THAT IS WRONG AND FOOLISH.

    We all need to accept that a number of ref decisions are subjective and NOT black or white and are down to the onfield refs interpretation. There will always be inconsistencies, where humans are making decisions and to think that technology can put that right is foolish and not fully thought out thinking.

    The handball fiasco is just one of several areas where Stockley Park take a different but still subjective view from the ref. That is unhelpful and we are far better off with NO interference , save goalline technology and perhaps red cards for mistaken identity, which are very rare anyway.

    The whole implementation of VAR has vastly spoiled football fans enjoyment in a foolish hope to get consistency but it has failed to be consistent, as was always obvious to those who think wisely, and it was obvious right from the beginning of VAR.

    BIN THE WHOLE DAFT CONCEPT AND DO IT NOW, not at end of season. If you make a mistake you should never wait to put it right but correct it asap. That is my properly thought out view on the whole foolish and harmful concept, which almost all fans hate and many , like me, wish it gone . And in case anyone, EVEN NOW, has still not noticed, without fans and them attending, football will die.
    FANS WHO DO NOT ENJOY THE GAME GIVE UP AND WE CANNOT AFFORD FOR THAT TO HAPPEN,SO CHANGE OR PERISH!

    1. Beastmode says:

      Jon I agree with some part of your comment particularly where you said some of the decisions are subjective and will always be inconsistent. This is the same issue that NFL had last year where they allowed coaches to challenge for pass interference. Well the Coaches threw the red flags a lot in 2019, but ended up losing 95% of their challenges because its subjective and the calls could go either way. Plus the referee’s don’t like to be undermined even when they are wrong. That rule got reversed this year.Personally, I would like VAR to keep things simple like the red cards, offsides, and penalties.

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