Premier League set to formally lobby football’s rule makers Ifab over handball rule


The Premier League is prepared to formally lobby football’s rule-makers for a change in the handball law.

They want to avoid a repeat of the Eric Dier handball incident that caused such controversy at the end of Tottenham’s Premier League meeting with Newcastle on 27 September.

A spate of handball decisions have led to fierce criticism across the game since the rules were changed.

Dier called the new handball rulings a “massive problem”.

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.

Top-flight referees have now been ordered to be less strict about their interpretations of the law, particularly on the distance an offending player is from the ball and whether he has extended his arm outside the natural body line.

If they happened again, the incidents that led to Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof and Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward conceding penalties at the weekend would not go against the defenders.

However the Premier League is powerless to do anything about the Dier decision because the Tottenham player’s arm was above shoulder height, which the International Football Association Board (Ifab) deems to be worthy of a foul if the ball hits it.

The Premier League has already raised the issue during its regular communications with Ifab’s technical director and former Premier League referee David Elleray.

BBC Sport understands the Premier League will wait for a response. However, such is the strength of feeling against that decision from across the game, and the frustration of referees, that they will make a formal request to change the rule if the answer is not satisfactory.

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.

Amid the clamour around the handball interpretation, it is felt the majority of decisions over the opening three weekends of the season have been correct, including the decision that went against Neal Maupay that ended up costing Brighton a point after the final whistle had gone against Manchester United on Saturday.



BBC News