A new handball rule will be used at Euro 2020, UEFA have confirmed.
The law has been designed to not penalise attackers if they accidentally commit a handball in the build-up to a goal.
The rule was introduced by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in March and will begin to be used around the world next month.
There was opportunity to bring the new law in sooner if UEFA wanted to, however, Roberto Rosetti, the chairman of their referees’ committee, said officials will used the new rule as soon as next Friday’s opening game between Turkey and Italy in Group A.
“The way the law has been rewritten is more according to the spirit of football and gives players the freedom to play football,” the Italian said at the 135th annual briefing on Friday morning.
The officials mentioned the “unnatural position” argument and clarified that: “Not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence” adding to be in an unnatural position, a player would have to make their body “unnaturally bigger.”
The news of this change for the handball rule will come as a welcome surprise for football fans, especially with the controversy surrounding VAR and Premier League matches.
Last season in England’s top flight and accidental handball from an attacker on the build-up to a goal was penalised. This happened during Fulham’s game against Tottenham Hotspur on March 4, where the Cottagers had an equaliser ruled out due to the ball hitting Mario Lemina in the build-up to Josh Maja’s goal.
The new law now states a hand ball is:
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.
In the meeting the topic of what is classed as offside was also discussed by officials, with Rosetti saying it needs to be “clear evidence” before VAR can change the on-field referee’s decision to award a goal.
“A few months ago Pep Guardiola said ‘I can accept a mistake made by the referee on the field of play, I cannot accept a mistake made by the VAR in front of the video’. This is true. He’s right,” Rosetti said.
“We cannot disallow the goal for offside if we have no evidence it is offside.
We want clear evidence to disallow goals – that’s it. For factual decisions we want interventions just if it’s clear.”