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‘Accidental handball’ no longer a foul, effective from 1st July.

“Accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offense,” the game’s lawmaking body, the International Football Association Board, has announced.

The dubious segment of the handball law became an integral factor during the last Premier League match between Tottenham and Fulham, a goal by Josh Maja was disallowed when his shot before seeing the back of the net came in contact with the hand of his partner Mario Lemina from a Davinson Sanchez leeway when he involved yards away. This resulted in a 1-0 victory for Tottenham over Fulham, giving them 3 points to advance.

A statement by IFAB mentioned: “As the interpretation of handball incidents has not always been consistent due to incorrect applications of the law, the members confirmed that not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offense.”

This basically means that not every ball touch to a player’s hand or arm would be considered an offense, as confirmed in the meeting. It would naturally come down to the referee and their judgment to determine the position’s validity of the arm concerning the player’s movement in a given situation. Hence, changing the antiquated handball rule was initiated at any contact of the player’s arm/hand with the ball whatsoever.

IFAB says almost all leagues will hold the adaptability to introduce the changes earlier with the July 1 date. In contrast, the English and Scottish FAs have affirmed their leagues will play matches with this law in effect starting next season.


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