Lawmakers’ crucial changes to handball rule

The International Football Association Board (The IFAB) has announced key clarifications to the handball law, which will come into force from July 1.

Players will no longer be penalised if an accidental handball leads to a teammate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity. Fulham thought they had equalised against Tottenham on Thursday night, but Josh Maja’s goal was disallowed for a handball in the build-up by Mario Lemina. The goal would not be ruled out next season.

The changes were proposed at the IFAB’s technical advisory panels in December and are not a direct result of any one incident.

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The IFAB also moved to clarify the interpretation of defensive handball, underlining that handball should only be considered if the position of their arm is not a consequence of 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.