What's new in 2019/20: Handball rule change

17 Aug 2019

See the main law amendments that Premier League players and fans will need to be aware in 2019/20

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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has updated the Laws of the Game for the 2019/20 season.


Any goal scored or created with the use of the hand or arm will be disallowed this season even if it is accidental. 

The handball rule now has extra clarity because it does not consider intent by a player. 

Another big change is to do with the position of a player's hand/arm.

If the ball hits a player who has made their body "unnaturally bigger" then a foul will be awarded.

IFAB says that having the hand/arm above shoulder height is rarely a "natural" position and a player is "taking a risk" by having the hand/arm in that position, including when sliding. 

It is, however, considered natural for a player to put their arm between their body and the ground for support when falling, so long as the arm is not extended to make the body bigger.


Premier League players will be allowed extra leeway when it comes to ricocheted handballs.  

It is often impossible to avoid contact with the ball if it has deflected off the body of an opponent, team-mate, or even another part of the own player. 

So a handball will not be awarded if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from their own head/body/foot or the head/body/foot of another player who is close/nearby. 

See: IFAB handball law changes in full

See: What's new in 2019/20?

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