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’?”

  • In fact it s the opposite of how you have described… It is far easier to hit a player than it is to hit the back of the net. This is obvious as it happens hundreds of times more than players actually hitting the back of the net. 22 players. 2 Goals!

    Those much smaller constantly moving targets are reached all the time, so many times, during the course of a match. It’s called passing…. Or ‘passing and movement’ as one ex-MOTD pundit used to call it in every other sentence he spoke. LOL!

  • Why isn’t VAR used in the same way that Rugby uses it? The REF asks the video judge, “is there any reason why I can’t award a try?” “did the player knock the ball on/put his foot into touch/receive the ball from a forward pass? etc”. In other words, the ref is STILL in charge on the pitch and he/she uses the video ref in order to confirm or deny their on pitch decision. Video refs CAN contact the ref to say that a foul was committed in the act of try scoring, but the ultimate decision is always with the ref. Mind you, the conversation between the ref and video ref is played so that everybody can hear the discussion, would football authorities be happy with that?

  • BS …. If an opponent is standing two yards in front of you in the penalty area it is very easy to direct the ball onto their arm.

  • Its simple…outfield players to wear straight jackets therefore no hand ball lol!

    Is it, isn’t it, when is it/isn’t it, handball those questions has been asked for donkey’s years and will keep being asked for ever more, especially as the player’s get more clever in achieving a handball from their opponents, even with VAR no two people can agree whether it’s intent or accidental, so long as humans, ie, refs/others checking on the game there is no real answer, mind you could say the ball is not allowed above knee height lol! Isn’t football wonderful. COYS

  • Or Geof, simply hit and hope for a handball. This has been happening in football from the start. Except that It has now seemingly made it much less in favour of the defender if he or she does indeed handball it.

  • BS……in respect of our own players, I’ve been saying for some time that the majority don’t seem to be able to master the ability to shoot so as far as they go you are correct. :- ) As others point out though, there are plenty of players in the PL who are very capable of ‘flicking’a ball up onto another players hand/arm at close range, and a good few who shoot more accurately than our own at longer ranges.

    I’m not sure what the ideal solution is but as many say, in respect of this particular issue, maybe it is still best left to the referee’s judgement. If no perfect solution is possible we can only accept and hope for the best possible implementation of an imperfect one.

  • That is a very good and very well put last paragraph, TQ2Spurs. It is exactly how I see it myself.

    To add to that, I have never had a problem with certain rules being open to interpretation in the first place. Human nature and each individuals perception makes this unavoidable imo.

    Even a judge in a court of law has some allowance and leeway to make his own interpretation and final judgement of the law in some very serious criminal offences. This is just football for goodness sake and no one goes to jail for a deliberate or accidental handball! Not yet!

  • Thanks HT…..despite my advancing years I can compose the odd thing still. I used to be the best speller in my class but in my earlier post for some unknown reason I wrote ‘discression’ instead of ‘discretion’ which I would once have regarded as totally embarrassing, nowadays I just put it down to failing memory! 🙂

  • So… deal done and a record one soon to be announced, what is tight-arse Levy up to? Poor old Frank will have to look for something else to moan about now! lol

  • HT/Geof – in that case, if it’s so easy to do, and has happened so many times, I would challenge you to show me one specific example of it happening. A player aiming at another’s hand, and successfully hitting the target. If it’s as easy or frequent as you suggest, Youtube should be full of such instances.

    I watch a lot of football each year, and have been doing so for some time. Yet I can’t recall a single instance of this happening. But I am happy to be proven wrong. I’ll wait.

  • TQ2Spurs – slightly off topic, but you mentioned the NDombele deal so I will address it (and we’ll see if Frank agrees).

    May I remind you that we signed Soldado, Lamela and a few others before selling Bale…

    The point is that if we are signing NDombele with the intention of pairing him with our current top players, great. But if we are buying him because we know that we are about to lose 2 or 3 proven performers, that is hardly doing anything different to what we have done in the past. The time to judge is at the end of the window. If signing NDombele means losing Eriksen, for example, we’ll have signed a promising, but unproven in the PL footballer and lost a frequent match winner in the process.

    Also, don’t let the price tag fool you. In absolute terms we’re spending more and more, but that’s just called inflation. We’re also selling players for more and more. The net spend at the end of the window will tell the real story, or if we were able to extend players who have actually performed for us in recent years.

  • BS, you do have an uncanny knack of inventing a reason to argue and make your point. None of that has any resemblance to what Geof or myself have actually said on here… LOL!

  • What are you taking about re N’Dombele BS? I mean really! You are hilarious mate……. There’s no accounting for your insistence on you being correct about Levy no matter what, is there? Even if proven wrong you will insist that you are right….

    Kind of ironic that you didn’t mention Eriksen himself was also one go those players bought with the Bale money…

    You were also against Levy the last time we broke our transfer record with Sanchez. That time it was because you thought we had wasted our money because he wasn’t good enough… There really is no pleasing you is there?

  • BS……Ndombele may be unproven in the PL but he proved his ability in the CL which included dominating the midfield twice against the eventual PL champions.

  • By the way…………….it could be argued that Mane kicked the ball against Sissoko’s arm in the CL final, his arm was raised to direct the defender before Mane kicked the ball and it looked to me as though it was deliberately aimed from Mane’s reaction.

  • BS …. Have you suddenly lost the power of comprehension? Where did I say ‘it has happened so many times’? I didn’t …. so why request examples? What I did say was that it is easy for a player to direct the ball onto an opponents arm FROM TWO OR THREE YARDS! And it is …. for any player with an ounce of ball control. Please try not to twist what is said to suit your own purpose …. just write what you think instead. Hope this is clear enough as I really don’t want to repeat it AGAIN. : – )

  • Tq….it is annoying but it seems to be an in thing with most sites now… refreshing and ads.
    Danny winter, sorry mate,. didn’t see the reply.
    Anyway,I watch the Chinese league and it’s so refreshing,the refs are mostly on point and strict.
    No var and stupid hand ball decisions.
    Nine matches with eight red cards all correct decisions.
    No joking on dishing out yellows , funny thing is there’s not much of players running up in the faces of refs.
    Hands work in auto mode with body movement for balance except when one may try to do otherwise but deciding which is which when is the conundrum.

  • Ht…. exactly,I still think that peno in the cl was pool player aiming for mousa’ hand

  • At the risk of being a bore, I’m going to repeat myself here. Players aim the ball to hit opposition players all the time. This is so obvious that it makes no sense whatsoever to deny it or even for me to explain how and why they do it. They just do. All the time!

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