Handball law to be clarified by football’s lawmakers IFAB on Friday

Simon Collings
·2-min read
<p>The handball law has caused controversy this season</p> (Getty Images)

The handball law has caused controversy this season

(Getty Images)

The handball law is expected to receive further clarity on Friday when football’s lawmakers meet for their annual general meeting.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) are meeting virtual, with the the Football Association of Wales chairing the process, and the handball law is on the agenda.

It has caused controversy this season, not least at the start of the Premier League campaign when a raft of penalties were being given for handball.

Tottenham defender Eric Dier gave one away against Newcastle United and said afterwards: “In and around the box with the new handball rule, you are terrified. You don’t feel free. You really don’t feel free to act, to try to play in a normal way.”

Dier received plenty of support, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp memorably saying: “Eric Dier didn’t do anything wrong and it’s a penalty – the only option is to cut our arms off.”

The handball law was tightened at the start of this season, with IFAB defining the boundary between the shoulder and the arm as the bottom of the armpit. Anything below that and it’s a handball - regardless of whether it is intentional or not.

Since the start of the season, Premier League referees have been able to show more leniency but controversy has still raged.

Indeed, only last weekend Manchester United were incensed that Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi wasn't penalised for handling in the box.

IFAB will hope to add clarity to the handball law by discussing it during Friday’s virtual AGM.

They are also due to discuss concussion substitutes, the increased number of substitutes allowed due to Covid-19 and the offside law.

The latter has also been a source of controversy this season, particularly due to the margins with which VAR defines offside. The use of VAR will, incidentally, also be discussed during Friday’s AGM.

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