Let’s take ‘deliberately’ out of the handball law
I have a suggestion on how to clear up inconsistencies with handballs.
Law 12 states that “a direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player…handles the ball deliberately”.
In reality, we all know this rule isn’t always applied correctly. When the ball strikes a hand or an arm which is well away from the body and all the stadium can see it, the referee will invariably give a foul whether it was deliberate or not (we can also argue whether the player is being naive by having his arms flailing about).
I think we should take ‘deliberately’ out of the law and replace it with “…gains an advantage from handling the ball”.
A perfect example was Sunday’s 2-2 draw between Torino and AC Milan. Hosts Torino scored a late equaliser from the spot after the ball hit Milan defender Kakha Kaladze on the thigh before striking his outstretched arm.
Milan were furious but Torino would have been as well had the penalty not been given. If the ball had not struck Kaladze’s arm it would have flown across the face of goal and given the home side a chance to score.
If the ball had bounced down off Kaladze’s arm into the path of a Torino attacker, then there would have been no advantage to Milan and therefore it should not be a foul.
Defenders don’t deliberately score own goals but they count. Forwards don’t deliberately run offside but they are still penalised. What’s the difference with handball?
I know controversies make football so enjoyable but if we sorted out the handball rule, we’d still have tackles, offsides, red cards and goalline technology to argue about…