IFAB brings new changes to handball rules

Manchester, England: The IFAB, the regulator of football, has changed the laws of the game so that accidental handballs that cause a teammate to score are no longer penalized.

Previously, a handball was given if the ball hit the hand or arm of a player or teammate just before a goal was scored or a scoring opportunity was created.

While goals scored directly from the arm or hand or immediately thereafter will continue to be excluded, even if accidental, it will no longer be the case as goals will be chalked if the ball inadvertently touches the hand. of a teammate earlier in the build-up.

“Accidental handball which causes a teammate to score a goal or have a scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offense,” the IFAB said in a statement following its annual general meeting.

The amendment to the handball law will come into effect on July 1, although competitions will retain the possibility of introducing changes before that date.

It is too late for Premier League club Fulham, who were denied a goal for handball in their 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday.

Josh Maja thought he had equalized but the goal was disallowed after a VAR check as a clearance from a Tottenham defender hit the arm of Mario Lemina, who was at his side and therefore clearly accidental.

The ball then fell for Maja to score.

“We just need a little common sense. We are trying to make football so pure and sterile that it becomes unrealistic,” Fulham manager Scott Parker said.

A complicated area of ​​handball law is when a player is known to have used his arm / hand to make the body ‘unnaturally big’, such as when blocking a shot or a cross.

Each touch of a player’s arm / hand will not be a violation, and it was confirmed during the meeting that the referees should continue to use their judgment to determine the validity of the hand / arm position by in relation to the movement of the player in a given situation.

The reference to an automatic handball offense being given if the ball hits a player’s arm when lifted over his shoulder has been removed.

The IFAB also said trials of concussion surrogates are expected to continue until 2022 and the option to allow five surrogates will remain under consideration due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. .

The body continues to review the offside law, looking at suggestions, such as that from FIFA football development manager Arsene Wenger, for a change that would give the attacking player more advantages than the law. current.

The IFAB also plans to test technology that would allow “semi-automatic” offside decisions to limit the need for long waits for the VAR assessment.

Another area of ​​interest is “VAR Light”, a means of introducing certain elements of video reviews at sites and competitions where there is not full camera coverage of top league games.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has dismissed critics who said VAR takes away spontaneity and joy from the game, saying waiting for decisions brings its own element of excitement and the system does more “justice. “.