Eric Dier’s Handball Against Newcastle Trigger Calls For Changes To Handball Rule

Dier's Handball Newcastle Changes To Handball Rule

The Premier League will be formally lobbying for a change in the handball law following the controversy over the penalty award against Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier last weekend.

The league is understood to be keen on altering the section of the law which states that handball must be awarded if the ball strikes the hand or arm when it is above shoulder level, as was the case with Dier.

The decision, which cost Spurs victory against Newcastle United on Sunday, was criticised because Dier’s arms appeared to be in a natural position for someone who was jumping, and because he was facing away from the ball when it struck him.

However, neither of those factors are relevant under the law, and the Premier League is now understood to be discussing the section of the law about the hand or arm being above shoulder height with the game’s lawmakers the International Football Association Board (Ifab).

If necessary, the league is prepared to formally lobby the Ifab for a rule change.

The Ifab’s technical and football advisory panels are due to meet this autumn, and any law change would have to be rubber-stamped at its annual general meeting next March, before coming into effect for the 2021/22 season.

In these instances, it is understood the referees will be advised to consider what the expected position of a player’s hand or arm is given the action the player is undertaking at the time.

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They will also be asked to take into account the player’s ability to react, and whether the contact with the arm blocks a direct shot at goal.

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