UEFA Asks FIFA to Adjust Handball Law to Prevent More ‘Unfair Decisions’


UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has written to FIFA counterpart Gianni Infantino, asking the game’s governing body to adjust the handball law. It follows a rise in what Ceferin deems “unfair decisions” against players.

UEFA President Tells FIFA Counterpart Current Handball Law Causing “Discomfort” Across Footballing Community

Ceferin Looking to “Preserve the Spirit of the Game”

The Associated Press have reported that Ceferin asked for the November meetings of the game’s lawmakers to consider allowing referees to determine again whether a player handled intentionally or not.

Ceferin’s letter comes after a dramatic increase in penalties awarded via handball so far this season.

He wrote:

“The attempt to strictly define the cases where handling the ball is an offense has resulted in many unfair decisions which have been met with growing frustration and discomfort by the football community.

“The spirit of the game must be preserved at all times. I believe that going back to the previous wording, perhaps reviewed and integrated by a provision which does not allow goals to be scored with a hand/arm, is an option to be taken into account.”

The Premier League has seen a huge rise in penalties awarded this season. At the current rate, 292 penalties would be awarded by the end of this season, with 88 awarded for handball.

By contrast, the most penalties the Premier League has seen in the past five years was during the 2016/17 season.

106 penalties were given that year, with just 18 of those penalties awarded for handball.

Premier League Managers in Favour of Handball Law Change

Under the current law, if the ball hits the hand of a player who has made their body “unnaturally bigger” then a foul will be awarded.

As a result, many of the penalties given for handball in the Premier League this season have been seen as controversial.

Notably, Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier was penalised for handball in the last minute of their game against Newcastle United.

This was despite the ball hitting Dier’s hand from less than a yard away. The England international was also jumping at the time and the ball was not in his line of sight.

Newcastle scored the penalty to draw 1-1.

Magpies manager Steve Bruce called for the law to be changed – despite it helping his side on that particular occasion:

“If you’re going to tell me that is handball then we all may as well pack it in.

“It’s a nonsense, a nonsense of a rule.”

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson also hit out at the current ruling earlier this season, after his side’s 2-1 defeat to Everton due to a penalty given against Joel Ward:

“I think it is a nonsense when we get one and a nonsense when we get one against us… I find it very disappointing that the game I love and believe in is being reduced to this level.”

As a result, Premier League referees have been allowed to show more leniency when it comes to handball decisions.


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