Soccer-IFAB makes further changes to handball rules
Football's rulemaker IFAB has changed the laws of the game so that accidental handballs leading to a team mate scoring will no longer be penalised. It was previously the case that a handball would be given if the ball touched a player's or a team mate's hand or arm immediately before a goal was scored or a goalscoring opportunity was created.Reuters | Updated: 05-03-2021 19:37 IST | Created: 05-03-2021 19:36 IST
Football's rulemaker IFAB has changed the laws of the game so that accidental handballs leading to a team mate scoring will no longer be penalised.
It was previously the case that a handball would be given if the ball touched a player's or a team mate's hand or arm immediately before a goal was scored or a goalscoring opportunity was created. While goals scored directly from the arm or hand or immediately after will continue to be ruled out, even if accidental, it will no longer be the case that goals will be chalked off if the ball inadvertently touches a team mate's hand earlier in the buildup.
"Accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence," IFAB said in a statement following their Annual General Meeting. The tweak to the handball law will become effective on July 1, although competitions will retain the flexibility to introduce changes prior to that date.
It comes too late for Premier League club Fulham who had a goal disallowed for handball during their 1-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday. Josh Maja thought he had scored an equaliser but the goal was disallowed after a VAR check because a clearance by a Tottenham defender had struck Mario Lemina's arm, which was down by his side and therefore clearly accidental.
One complicated area of the handball law is when a player is deemed to have used his arm/hand to make the body "unnaturally bigger" such as when blocking a shot or cross. Not every touch of a player's arm/hand will be an offence, and it was confirmed in the meeting that referees should continue to use their judgment in determining the validity of the hand/arm's position in relation to the player's movement in a given situation.
IFAB also said the concussion substitute trials are expected to continue until 2022 and that the option of allowing five substitutes would remain under review because of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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