IFAB decided to change the accidental handball ruling, beginning from July 2021.
As suggested by the name itself, the handball offense is an offense when the player deliberately touches the ball with their hand or arm. In other cases, they move their hand or arm towards the ball.
Considering the conflicts caused by the term “deliberate,” International Football Association Board (IFAB) amended the rule in 2019.
What is the new handball rule?
The new handball rule ruled any touches or movements of the player’s hand or towards the ball as an offense, including the accidental ones.
Likewise, it even looked at the player’s hand/arm position along with their touch and movement.
Also, the foul was awarded if the hand/ arm is away from the body line. And if the ball hits the player who has made their body “unnaturally big.”
Similarly, it can happen if the player scores a goal or creates an opportunity after touching the ball with an arm/hand.
When the player falls and their hand/arm is laterally or vertically, the opponent gets a free kick or a penalty kick. Only the goalkeepers were exempted from the rule, that too only within the penalty area.
The law was introduced last year.
Even though the law was introduced in the 2019-20 season itself, it was implemented strictly from the 2020-21 seasons.
Similarly, Crystal Palace got the penalty in the match as Victor Lindelof’s hand was beyond his “natural” silhouette. As a result, Palace scored and won the game 3-1. As expected, the ruling was opposed by many spectators.
— Michael Simnett (@mobiletech_guru) August 17, 2019
Recently, the handball offense ruling was made against Fulham. Josh Maja had scored a goal for Fulham, but the referee denied anything. Reason: the VAR replay showed the ball touched Mario Lemina’s arm first.
Unfortunately, Fulham lost the match to Tottenham by a goal.
Shared Hatred By The Fans
From the beginning, the handball incidents caused controversies now and then throughout the season. Players, managers, and pundits shared a mutual dislike; they believe that the rule is ridiculous and punished wrongfully.
Also, football fans are not too enthusiastic about the rule either; many claim it ruins the beauty of the game, its rawness, just like VAR.
— Ram Diraviyam (@Ramdiraviyam) November 7, 2020
Following all the controversies and observing the majority’s distaste, in December 2020. IFAB received the proposal to change the rule.
Likewise, the lawmakers of IFAB voted to update the rule.
“Interpretation of Handball Incidents; not interpreted consistently.”
On Friday, the Association Board made their decision regarding the rule public during their AGM.
As per the new rule, the following conditions ensure fouls:
- When the player deliberately tries to touch the ball.
- When the player makes their body bigger by deliberately moving their hands/arms.
Adding up to that, it is still an offense if the accidental handball results in a goal immediately. If it is after touching the player or directly from the player’s hand.
As per the new rules, it is not an offense, when other teammates score a goal or create a goal-scoring opportunity. If followed by accidental handball.
New “T-Shirt Line” Rule
During their Annual General Meeting (AGM), IFAB also clarified the offside. Even though the offside is pretty clear; issues are there, much more so since the introduction of VAR.
According to IFAB’s interpretation, the player’s bottom of the armpits is the new “T-shirt line” and ruled.
Also, Wenger’s proposal for the modification of the offside rule is set to be tested.
According to the test rule, it is not offside if the attacking player’s body part that they can play with is in line with the defender.
Similarly, lower leagues of Chinese Football will put it on trial. And it will turn to formal rule if it makes the game more passionate.