The new law of the game on the hands, enacted last March by the IFAB, will be in force during this Euro. Supposed to facilitate the task of the referees, it still appears rather vague and subject to interpretation.
The Euro, which begins this Friday with Italy-Turkey, will not only inaugurate a new format for eleven countries. The competition will also follow the new hand rule enacted by the IFAB, which manages the laws of the game, last March. This should apply from July 1 but Roberto Rosetti, president of the UEFA Referees Committee, has confirmed that it will be in effect from this Euro. It aims to simplify the debates but in the texts, it is not so simple with the question of intentionality always more central.
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“Any contact between the ball and the arm or hand of a player does not necessarily constitute an offense,” underlines the law first. While the text previously listed the different scenarios to determine a fault or not, it is more vague this time. He focuses in particular on the notion of artificially increasing the surface area by the body.
The referee must determine if the position of the arm is justified.
“It is considered that a player has artificially increased the area covered by his body when the position of his arm or hand is not a consequence of the movement of his body in that specific situation or is not justifiable by a such movement, explains the text. By having his arm or his hand in such a position, the player takes the risk of touching the ball with these parts of the body and thus of being sanctioned. “
The IFAB thus asks the referees to judge “the regularity of the position of the arm or of the hand in relation to the movement of the player in this particular situation”. If a player making a tackle lets his arm hang over his head, he will be penalized. If the ball hits his arm on which he is leaning during his tackle, it should not be. But everything remains a matter of appreciation.
A change on the offensive hands
The old law did not award a foul if the ball hit the hand after bouncing off another part of the body or a nearby player. This part is lapsed and it will be up to the referee to decide whether the hand results from an unnatural position of the arm.
On offensive hands too, the rule changes a bit. The main idea remains the same: a goal will be disallowed if the ball has touched the hand of a goalscorer, even accidentally. On the other hand, accidental hands committed by a teammate before a goal or a scoring opportunity are no longer an offense.
The armpit determined as the limit for whistling an offside
A modification has also been made to signal an offside. “The hands and arms of all players, including goalkeepers, are not taken into account, explains the IFAB. In order to be able to determine an offside position, the upper limit of the arm is the bottom of the The armpit. The shoulder is not considered part of the arm and is therefore a part of the body with which it is legitimately possible to score a goal, which should be taken into account when scoring.
determine a possible offside position. “