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?