Agreement Found on Interpretation of Handball Rule


After another weekend in which the new handball rule was scrutinized, the Premier League reportedly held a meeting today to discuss the ruling and how it can be changed to prevent further problems for the rest of the season.

It has reportedly been agreed that, as of the upcoming game week, referees will be told to show greater leniency in handball decisions.

Premier League Hold Meeting Regarding Handball Rule

This Weekend’s Drama

Tottenham Hotspur were left stunned by a late refereeing decision to award Newcastle a stoppage-time penalty after Eric Dier appeared to handle the ball despite not even looking at it. The ball was headed on to his arm from behind, putting him in an impossible position.  A number of the top-flight managers have had their say on the rule. Many are confused and do not understand it.

The Premier League’s Stance

As reported by The Athletic, it is said a top-flight source believes ‘nobody is enjoying the rule’. Largely due to the way in which each week there has been a number of controversial decisions.

However, one would hope that allowing the referees to use ‘greater subjectivity’ will reduce the number of unfair decisions. The rule itself has not been and cannot be changed, but greater leniency appears to be a step in the right direction and was the talking point in the reported meeting.

What is the Rule?

Now, with this allowance of interpretation and leniency, a deflection of a hand by the players side will reportedly be viewed differently. Anything above the head, however, is to be given as a penalty.

The rule this season has become a lot stricter. The ruling states that anything below the boundary between the shoulder and the arm (end of kit sleeve) will be given.

Clubs Confused By Current Handball Ruling

Many managers and players have been left bemused by certain decisions this season. Yet, Premier League director of football Richard Garlick has reportedly explained the amendment to the clubs.

The rule has not been explicitly changed. As a result, there was no need for a vote on this.

Implications of New Rules on the Season so far

Six of the already twenty awarded penalties this season have been for handball.

The Premier League is on course for its highest number of penalties in a single season.

Only 19 penalties were awarded as a result of handball last year. Almost a third of that figure have been already given after just three game weeks.

It appears, due to the rule not actually changing, that we will soon surpass this record. Now referees have to individually interpret it and use leniency when they see fit.

Controversial decisions may not become a thing of the past, but the reported slight change of the interpretation of the rule should put an end to the weekly handball drama in the Premier League.


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