‘I Think the Rules are Nonsense’: Roy Hodgson’s Damning Indictment of Football’s Latest Rule Change

Roy Hodgson's

Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace stood in bemusement. The Palace boss himself cut an angry figure following the full-time whistle, as one topic was everyone’s lips at Selhurst Park.

After being benefactors of the new handball rule last week against Manchester United, the Eagles fell victim this week. Joel Ward’s ‘handball’ in the 38th minute gave Everton the three points, much to the shock of everyone in the ground.

Speaking about the decision after the game, Hodgson said: “I think the rules are nonsense, that’s what I think.”

Roy Hodgson’s Damning Indictment of Football’s Latest Rule Change

The Lack of Clarity

There was a lack of clarity over the handball decision last season. Somehow, the rule makers in the Premier League and football alike have only made it worse.

Palace benefitted from a fortunate decision last week, but would be the first to admit that it was not a penalty. But if the decision that went against Joel Ward sets the bar for the season, then you are giving away four or five penalties every week. There is no clarity on the rule.

The new rule suggests that below the sleeve is now the benchmark for giving a handball. However, that does not take into account that not every handball below the sleeve will be deliberate.

Neither Joel Ward’s or Victor Lindelof’s were deliberate, and neither was Domininc Calvert-Lewin’s in the second half against Palace, which was also checked by VAR.

As a result, the governing bodies of football have created an unambiguous rule. There is no room for deciding whether it was deliberate or if the arm was in an unnatural position – anywhere below the sleeve now has to be handball.

‘How We’ve Allowed This Rule to Come Into Operation is Beyond Me’

Roy Hodgson’s words probably echo the thoughts of many throughout the Premier League.

Cutting a broken figure – after all, he is a man of 44 years worth of managerial experience – the Palace boss gave an honest interpretation in his post-match interview.

“How we’ve allowed this rule to come into operation is beyond me, and it’s ruining the game of football, there’s no question of that,” the Palace boss said after full-time.

“Even we, the experienced coaches and players, can’t understand what really constitutes a handball and what doesn’t.”

The 73-year-old rounded off the interview by saying he does not believe in the rule, and that it is ‘killing the game of football’.

If a man of his experience is saying that, then there is little hope for the future.

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