Date: 30th June 2019 at 6:17pm
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With the new rules (article on sister site, Vital Villa) in place for the upcoming season, I thought I’d ask our Vital Spurs readers their opinions on the handball issue.

Goalkeepers are allowed to handle the ball inside the penalty box. That’s a logical rule. Outfield players are not allowed to handle the ball anywhere. That’s a logical rule, too. At least it’s logical if the rule applies only to the ‘hand’.

But the rule does not only apply to the hand. It applies to the arm and, often, the shoulder. So why is it called ‘handball’ instead of ‘arm ball’? Most players have the ability and instinct to avoid hand contact with the ball. But, often, they don’t have the same ability to avoid contact with the arm.

The body works in certain ways designed to maintain balance and avoid injury in all sports. The body uses the arm as part of this process. When a player leaps for the ball, the arm works unconsciously to maintain balance. When a player twists and turns while at full (or close to it) speed, it’s the arms that keep him on his feet. And if the movement is unconscious and natural …. why is it deemed illegal according to the rules?

It seems to be this unconscious movement to maintain balance that is penalised by current ‘handball’ interpretations of the ruling by officials.

Maybe a way to reduce the confusion would be to actually make the rule more appropriately fit its name. That would mean allowing players to use their arms and shoulders to play the ball. But deliberate contact with the ball by hand would be penalised. Decisions would still have to be made as to whether any contact with the hand was deliberate or not but it would eliminate so many other current controversies concerning any decision. A compromise rule could be that contact below the elbow is an offence. At least that would give the player more opportunity to maintain his natural balance.

I also believe the rules relating to simulation should be adjusted for the same reason. When playing the game I would sometimes roll out of a tackle to avoid a bad fall and possible injury situation. Players do that today and the whistle blows for an infringement. I believe that a simulation ruling should only apply if a player CLAIMS a foul … not if he simply gets up and plays on.

What do Vital Spurs people think?

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91 Replies to “Is It Really ‘Hand Ball’?”

  • 2 things I was recently speaking about with someone, geofspur.

    Either great minds think alike, or you’re stalking me. I’ll go for the former.

    I’d agree anything below the elbow would be a better compromise to the rules, while also allowing for natural body movement/balance being taken into account.

    Regarding simulation, the laws of the game state a player cannot feign injury, which we know they increasingly do unfortunately.

    Rolling after a tackle to prevent injury is a natural process. 100% agreement.

    It’s a shame that the beautiful game has become littered with diving, rolling cheating players, who appear to be condoned be fans and football people – team bias, “anything to win” attitudes and the like.

    Let’s hope VAR exposes more players and helps to rectify that aspect of the game.

  • POCH must of spoken to Daniel Levy about players he wants.TIRED of the wait from LEVY.BUy them NOW.STOP the dawdling

  • I’ve actually turned off a couple of matches I was watching on the tellie in CopaAmerica recently because I am so tired of VAR and silly penalties that were about balls accidentally hitting someone somewhere in the area. The real fouls seem to go unnoticed, but the sniggely silly ones always stop the match for the VAR silliness. VAR, VAT, get rid of these horrid modern additions.

    I know that all old farts tend to think it was better in the day, but the game is really losing something of its soul with these sorts of penalties and incessant VAR stoppages. Soon the Americans will insist that they get to play adverts during the VAR times, which, in fact, may be what’s behind all of this in the first place. Soon we’ll have tellie contracts with some Murdoch owned channel that mandates a minimum number of VAR stoppages so that the tellie can show some adverts during stoppages. I knew the damned American/Australian capitalists would ruin our game sooner or later.

    The beautiful game is getting less beautiful with each new technical addition and each silly change of rules. It’s a game to be played without a lot of theatre and rolling about moaning in the hopes of cheating to draw a penalty or a flag. Play like adults, for sake of the gods. Don’t be a bunch of friggin cheats and whiners. Pelé didn’t play that way and neither did Danny Blanchflower ffs.

    Okay, that’s how I feel about VAR. If it was good enough for our grandads to play without these interruptions, then we can do without them now. Play the game already. All foam no beer is not the way to go.

  • At the same time – in the Women’s World Cup- an obvious USA handball within the penalty area was ignored by the referee , who also refused to consult the VAR. Let’s stop bickering. Referees are human and they make mistakes. VAR is both good and needed. Other sports have instant replays that can be consulted to make the game as fair as possible. No blame to refs- just better fairer games. and yes I agree “elbow down” but let’s enforce it.

  • Get used to it var is here because everyone called for a fairer game as spurs fan not a great fan of it myself but this is what’s here

  • Bollocks to VAR, if they don’t remove that fecking annoying and pointless embedded Thodgen video from every thread on this site I’m done here!

  • mello …. Don’t be silly! Of course I’m not stalking you. I just happened (accidentally) to overhear your discussion with your friends from where I happened to be quietly sitting under the table.

  • I have no problem with handball being all-the-way up the ‘arm ball’.

    I do have a problem understanding the ruling about arms apparently being in unnatural positions. Except of course if it’s an obvious hand/arm to ball movement. But, it’s not always so obvious is it?

    This is from a BBC Sport article:

    Goals scored or created with the use of an accidental handball will not stand from next season onwards, the International FA Board (Ifab) have confirmed. (Seems fair to me).

    Ifab technical director David Elleray explained the changes at their AGM in Aberdeen.

    “Deliberate handball remains an offence,” Elleray stressed.

    “In the past we’ve managed to improve the laws by focusing on outcome rather than intent.

    “What we are looking at particularly in attacking situations is where the player gets a clear unfair advantage by gaining possession or control of the ball, as a result of it making contact with their hand or arm.” … (Seems clear enough to me).

    So What Has Changed?

    The changes mean gaining control or possession and then scoring as a consequence of handling the ball will not be allowed – neither will a goal scored directly from handling the ball, regardless of intent.

    Another change to the laws of the game means that if the player’s arms extend beyond a “natural silhouette”, handball will be given, even if it is perceived as accidental.

    Elleray says this is an effort to put an end to defenders placing their arms behind their backs in fear of giving away a free-kick.

    “We’ve changed it to say the body has a certain silhouette,” said Elleray. “If the arms are extended beyond that silhouette then the body is being made unnaturally bigger, with the purpose of it being a bigger barrier to the opponent or the ball.

    “Players should be allowed to have their arms by their side because it’s their natural silhouette.”

    What the hell is a “natural silhouette”? How is having hands. by their side considered natural unless they are waiting for a bus? I’m also thinking; what was so unnatural about Sissoko’s arm movement in the CL final? He was pointing with his arm outstretched before the ball was kicked. Players do this all of the time. They are usually directing the position of team mates by doing this. It is not an unnatural thing to do when playing football. How can this be perceived as making one’s silhouette larger to gain an advantage? The arms do not retract into the body when not in use. They are always there. They do not necessarily make a bigger target by their movement. And Sissoko sticking his arm out to point before the ball was kicked cannot possibly be of any advantage to him unless he knew exactly where that ball was about to fly…

    In other words, it really isn’t as black and white as the new ruling is apparently designed to make it. Not for me anyway. In fact I think it makes a simple rule of old, unnecessarily more complex… But maybe that’s just me… ?

  • As it all stands, I can’t see how its going to become less confusing. It’s going to make next season even more interesting, and maybe even more frustrating. But football can be a very frustrating experience at the best of times so, as always, it is what it is and we’ll all have deal with it.

  • Tq…. I’m having problems navigating the site.
    Ads playing a huge role plus that thodgen thingy.
    When I click on one thing another loads.
    So annoying I can’t be bothered most times.
    Oh for the old site.too much reloàding making typing difficult.
    Notice I complained and it was removed from comments. Joke

  • 62………..I’m sick of seeing that bloke ranting in my face when I open every thread on here. I really don’t get why it is embedded everywhere, it can’t be a paid for ad because it isn’t selling anything, why he’s ranting on about the difference between English hugs and American thugs I’ve no idea. The whole video is annoying and pointless, maybe there is supposed to be a subliminal message in it? If there is it passes me by.

    I have complained about this video before but Danny obviously has no say in it’s inclusion. It really is annoying me so much that I am seriously considering not using the site to chat with my Spurs supporting chums any more which would sadden me greatly.

    It probably won’t go down well with the site admin but you can block most adverts and pop up boxes with a readily available free to download adblocker.

    • As I’ve said before TQ, most problems with popups come because of ad blockers, otherwise they are capped – I don’t use one and I’ve never had an issue. Checked on a mates lappy who does and the site was a nightmare to navigate in comparison, as were plenty of others. I’ll pass on the Thogden complaints again when I get chance though.

      • I’ll suppress my desire for more radical change and simply suggest that handball in the penalty box should be an indirect free kick and not a penalty. The exception being if if prevents the ball crossing the goalline, in which case a penalty goal should be awarded. Controlling or blocking with the arm or shoulder deliberately is and should be a bookable offence. We only need VAR because the award of a penalty is too harsh when the goal is not directly threatened.

  • Sorry Danny, there is no intention to make your life difficult and I do appreciate your efforts.

    • Not a problem TQ and you aren’t mate, don’t worry. Just trying to impart my wisdom as trawling for news I’ve come across sites far worse than this, but appreciate the frustration (I think was 62’s point maybe) that when something is slow to load and the page jumps just as you click it maybe looks like multiple things are loading possibly? Especially if using a blocker with the couple we have that are capped (whether they be adverts/or site signups or even I guess the GDPR notice).

      I’ve emailed over again about the vid btw.

      • haha…………yes it can be a pain when the page refreshes just as you are about to click on a link.

        The GDPR and acceptance notices are a pain aren’t they but I guess we have to accept them in a bid to try and control the storage and use of our personal data.

        I don’t have any specific issues with the site content in terms of adverts and promotional stuff (I think the level to which people can be affected could also be influenced by the browser they use) it’s just that blooming ‘in your face’ video that winds me up! :- )

        • I’m a sucker for that one myself, I’m learning to be a little less eager! Yup, no choice on those ones though sadly. The vid is being worked on, they’d still got it noted and I think it’s now gone from some sites so shouldn’t be too long before we’re added to the list.

  • I’ve had different problems with the site in the past but not for some time now. As Danny said, I sometimes click the page too soon and end up having to go back, But I’m getting older and slower so it should sort itself out quite naturally!! ; – )

  • My two penneth for what it is worth, I have no problems with the site, ok maybe it slows down sometimes but otherwise no probs, and I have an “add blocker”, plus yes! the English/USA thugs thing as others also gets on my tits. COYS

  • Again, I think the issue, when writing or rewriting a rule, is always going to be balancing “intent” and “outcome”.

    There is one train of thought, based on intent, which says that in any infraction, the referee makes a judgment call on whether the foul/handball/infringement was intentional or not. That seems more in line with the spirit of the game. The obvious downside however, is the lack of consistency between refs, and the difficulty to scale that model.

    The other, based on outcome, tends to remove interpretation, making the rule more “black and white”. In theory, that makes decisions easier. The obvious downside is when a foul is committed accidentally, the foul is given, which is further removed from the spirit of the game.

    The reality is that both views have upsides and downsides. In theory, I’d be more inclined to follow the spirit of the game, but I also struggle with the lack of consistency/transparency. It’s a model that football has tried to follow for many years, but rather unsuccessfully. The many controversies resulting form that approach have been the driving force behind VAR, 5 refs, and many other measures to try to improve decision-making.

    Maybe another way to address the issue is to make rules more black and white, and to remove the notion of intent.

    Ultimately, as long as a game is fair and that both teams are held to the same standards, that’s all that matters to me. I am not opposed to the rules changing (in fact, rules have changed many times in the past; there was a time when goalies could pick up a back pass, when offside didn’t exist, etc), but it has to be with fairness in mind.

  • No matter what the rules are, it’s the lack of consistency in interpreting the rules, and the lack of consistency in decision making across matches, that is (will always be?) the problem.

  • Making the rules more black or white is the obvious solution however even here there are going to be grey areas making it not so obvious!

    Take handball as an example, you could change the rules to say if the ball touches any part of the arm or hand, deliberate or not, then it is regarded as handball but how would you then deal with the probable scenario of players deliberately kicking the ball at an opposition players hand or arm? Would it mean allowing the referee to use his/her discression to decide if it was a deliberate attempt to win a free kick or penalty?

    Surely this is no different to what we have all been used to in that the referee decides on whether a hand ball is deliberate or not, so it’s swings and roundabouts really.

  • TQ2Spurs – “ow would you then deal with the probable scenario of players deliberately kicking the ball at an opposition players hand or arm?”

    I know that argument has been used to discredit the new version of the handball rule, but to be honest I don’t view that as a probable scenario at all. I think the number of instances where a player could pull that off successfully is going to be very limited.

    Players have a hard enough time shooting at an immobile, and rather large, target as it is. Imagine trying to hit a much smaller, constantly moving target intentionally. While the scenario exists in theory, I don’t think it really does in real life. And in the rare instance that it may happen, it could still be seen as just exploiting the rules, much like tricking a defender into committing a foul would be.

  • In every football match I watch BS, players are frequently (and successfully) aiming the ball off opposition players to gain an advantage. Whether that be for a goal-kick, throw-ins or corners. Of course players will attempt to aim the ball at other players in the hope that it will hit their hand or arm… It’s pretty inevitable I’d say…

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