Handball rule to be changed again to make referee decisions more consistent

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The handball law is set to be changed again after the IFAB admitted that referees have not always been consistent enough with their decisions reports Sky Sports.

The International Football Association Board [IFAB] have accepted that referees’ interpretation of handballs “has not always been consistent” and will consider changing the rule at their AGM in March.

Last season the IFAB tried to bring more clarity to the wording of the rule saying if a player “scores in the opponents’ goal directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper” then that is handball.

Under the new wording the rule also stated that it is also an offence if a player touches the ball with their hand/arm when, “the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger.”

Since the adjustment, some referees have taken the rule rather more seriously and with the introduction of VAR officials were able to watch moments back in slow motion and from different angles.

Following the introduction of the new rule and VAR system referees began to punish every single incident of handball, even when accidental.

After talks with the football and technical advisory panels in November, the IFAB said: “It was agreed that not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence.

“In terms of ‘unnaturally bigger’, referees should judge the position of the hand/arm in relation to the player’s movement in that situation.”

The rule is set to be reviewed and possibly amended at the IFAB’s next annual general meeting which is scheduled to take place on March 5th.


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