Why is the new handball rule so contentious & will it be changed?
Change in any realm of life can be difficult to adapt to and football is no different as teams come to terms with the updated handball rule.
Handball decisions have been the source of some of the most controversial moments in football, such as Diego Maradona's 'Hand of God' against England at the 1986 World Cup, or Thierry Henry's 'Hand of Gaul' against the Republic of Ireland in the 2010 World Cup play-off.
The rules were changed in an attempt to avoid such controversy by making things cut and dry, so why has there been so much disquiet regarding the changes?
The new rule has been a source of so much consternation because it effectively removed the need for ahandball offence to be deliberate and more penalties have been awarded as a result.
Perceptions such as those expressed by Lineker and Hodgson have been coloured byincidentswhere penalties have been given when a player has accidentally handled the ball inside the area while defending.
As well as penalties, many have been exasperated by thefact that a number ofgoals have been ruled out after the identification of an apparently innocuous accidental handball in the lead-up.
In the past, some marginal handball occurrences may have been missed or a referee may have made a judgement call on the matter.
However, the fact that such incidents are now closely monitored by VAR during each game,along with FIFA's insistence on the strict and consistent application of the rule, means that they are inevitablyhighlighted.
The IFAB defines a handball offence in the following terms for the 2020-21 season:
A handball offence occurs if a player:
The above offences apply even if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from the head or body (including the foot) of another player who is close.
It is not a handball if the ball touches a player's hand/arm
In determining a handball offence, the area of an arm from the bottom of the armpit - essentially where a short sleeve ends on jerseys - counts.
It is entirely possible that pressure will mount on football's lawmakers, the IFAB, to the point where it is sufficient to prompt further change or clarity on the handball rule.
While it may take some time for any changes to be considered and brought into effect worldwide, national associations have the option of modifying some laws, but must inform the IFAB.
The Premier League has been particularly vocal in its opposition to the handball ruleas it stands and it looks likely that the English organisation will be at the fore of any agitation for change.
Source : goal.com
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