What's new in 2020/21: Handball Laws

12 Sep 2020

A new interpretation of the law on handball made by the IFAB will be introduced this season

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Ahead of the 2020/21 season, we take a look at the new things to keep an eye out for in the Premier League.

See: What's new in 2021/22: Handball Law

Handball laws

From the 2020/21 season in the Premier League, there will be a new interpretation of the law on handball made by the International Football Association Board (IFAB)

The boundary between the shoulder and the arm is now defined by "the bottom of the armpit".

To penalise a player for handball the match officials must have clear evidence that the ball has struck the player's arm below the bottom of the armpit and in the red zone indicated below.

The new handball interpretation

Incidents where the ball hits the shoulder should not be penalised.

IFAB have also issued a reminder that a player cannot score a goal with their arm, even if it is accidental.

An accidental handball by an attacking player or team-mate will only be penalised if it occurs immediately before a goal or a goalscoring opportunity.

If an attacking player accidentally touches the ball with their hand or arm and then scores a goal, or the ball goes to another attacking player and they immediately score, this is a handball offence.

But it is not a handball offence if after an accidental handball the ball travels some distance via a pass or a dribble, or there are several passes before the goal or goalscoring opportunity.

See: VAR explained: Why Ward handball would not be given

Also in this series

Part 1: Match officials
Part 2: Nike Flight ball
Part 3: Maiden fixtures
Part 4: Application of VAR
Part 6: Premier League Anthem

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