The IFAB clarifies handball Law and confirms decision on concussion substitute trials 05 Mar 2021
Clarification of the handball Law and confirmation concerning the launch of concussion substitute trials were the main outcomes of the 135th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of The International Football Association Board (The IFAB), which was held today by videoconference.
Various changes and clarifications to the Laws of the Game were agreed at the AGM, with a particular focus on Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct.
As the interpretation of handball incidents has not always been consistent due to incorrect applications of the Law, the members confirmed that not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence. In terms of the criterion of the hand/arm making a player’s body “unnaturally bigger”, it was confirmed that referees should continue to use their judgment in determining the validity of the hand/arm’s position in relation to the player’s movement in that specific situation.
Following this clarification, it is a handball offence if a player:
* deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, for example moving the hand/arm towards the ball;
* touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger. A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation. By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and being penalised; or
* scores in the opponents’ goal:
- directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper; or
- immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental.
Accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence.