Football lawmakers to discuss overhaul of handball rules while penalty rebounds could also be scrapped

There seems to be a much wider consensus that the handball law is unsatisfactory. In the Fifa Laws of the Game under Law 12, Fouls and Misconduct, it is stipulated that a free kick or penalty kick is awarded if a player “deliberately handles the ball (except the goalkeeper in his own surface to repair) “.

What counts as “deliberately” has continually sparked debate. There is no description of what constitutes deliberate handball, which places the onus on the referee and his assistants.

The wording of the FA rules adds that “the distance between the opponent and the ball” must be taken into consideration, but the responsibility for what constitutes a deliberate act still lies with the officials.

It appears that the change, if proposed, would remove the word ‘deliberately’ and define handball as having to do with the hand or arm being in an unnatural position at the point of contact. Agreeing on an unnatural position can also be tricky, but one suggestion is to set it as if the ball hits the arm above shoulder height. It would also be an offense if the ball touched the arm below shoulder height but in an unnatural position, which could be defined as being more than eight o’clock or four o’clock from the body. Any goal scored after hitting an attacking player’s arm would be disallowed.