Monday 23 September 2019

Rule change mooted to end handball confusion

The change comes under the second category of proposals to be discussed at the meeting in London on Monday and Tuesday. Stock picture
The change comes under the second category of proposals to be discussed at the meeting in London on Monday and Tuesday. Stock picture

Jason Burt

Football's lawmakers are expected to discuss a radical change to the handball rule to clarify it and take out the word "deliberately".

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) advisory panels will also examine a raft of other potential measures, including altering the way penalties are taken.

A surprising proposal is expected to be put up for discussion which would mean that penalties are "one shot" - and that there will be no rebounds if the kick is saved or strikes the frame of the goal and bounces back into play.

It would mean that goals such as the one scored by Paul Pogba for Manchester United against Everton in the Premier League last Sunday would be ruled out.

In that match Pogba's penalty was saved by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, but the midfielder scored from the rebound.

If such a change was made it would mean that the ball would be deemed "dead". Once the goalkeeper had blocked the penalty, a goal-kick would be awarded.

It would be the same as in a shoot-out and would do away with the problem of players encroaching.

The change comes under the second category of proposals to be discussed at the meeting in London on Monday and Tuesday.

The IFAB panel comprises the four home associations, which have one vote each, and FIFA, which has four votes.

Law changes require at least six votes but next week's meeting is only to decide what to take forward to the organisation's annual meeting in March.

There appears to be a far greater consensus that the handball law is unsatisfactory.

In Fifa's Laws of the Game under Law 12, Fouls and Misconduct, it is stated that a free-kick or penalty is awarded if a player "handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)".

What counts as "deliberately" has continually stirred up debate. There is no description of what constitutes deliberate handball, which places the responsibility on the referee and his assistants.

The wording in the Football Association's rules adds that "distance between the opponent and ball" should be taken into consideration but the onus on what constitutes deliberate still lies with the officials.

It appears that the change, if put forward, would remove the word "deliberately" and define handball as to do with the hand or arm being in an unnatural position at the point of contact. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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