Play of the Week 32: Handball in COL v DAL and POR v RSL
Oct 21, 2014
Play of the Week 32 with PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer concentrates on handball.
Rejer looks at the criteria in law that referees have to consider when deciding on a potential handball offense.
He said: “There are always a lot of appeals for handball PKs from players, fans and coaches as there is generally a misconception that the ball only has to contact or hit the arm or hand and it is a handball offense.
“However, the main criteria in the law is that it has to be deliberate. Judging anything deliberate usually means reading players’ minds but the Laws of the Game offer guidelines for the referees’ consideration, namely;
1. The proximity of the offending player when the ball is struck
2. The movement of the hand or arm towards the ball or away from the ball to prevent a handball offense occurring
3. Consideration of the hand or arm in the unnatural position
4. Whether the player uses his hands or arms to make himself bigger
“So if we look at two handball PK appeals from Week 32, one awarded, and one denied, we will consider the criteria in each case.
“Firstly, at Colorado Rapids versus FC Dallas, Chris Klute handles the ball from a corner kick and referee Hilario Grajeda, from an excellent position, has a decision to make using the above criteria;
1. The proximity of the offending player when the ball is struck – he had time to move his arm out of the way
2. The movement of the hand or arm towards the ball or away from the ball to prevent a handball offence occurring – his arm appears to move towards the ball
3. Consideration of the hand or arm in the unnatural position – his arm seems to be in an unnatural position
4. Whether the player uses his hands or arms to make himself bigger – with his arm in an unnatural position he is making himself bigger
“This meets all the criteria, it is deliberate and the referee makes the correct call.
“In the second example, at Portland Timbers versus Real Salt Lake, the ball hits Salt Lake’s defender Nat Borchers’ arm, and if you look at the reaction of the Timbers fans, players and coach Caleb Porter, it is a typical example of the ball hitting the arm and they believe it should be a PK. But does it meet the criteria?
“Borchers’ proximity is close when the ball is deflected and it appears to strike the arm, and he does not have the opportunity to avoid the contact. There is movement, but the arm is not in an unnatural position and he doesn’t make himself bigger.
“Referee Mark Geiger, who is in an optimum position, correctly concludes that this handball was not deliberate. That is the most important consideration and the difference between these two plays.”