Hand Ball:

"Hand To Ball Or Ball To Hand"?

Nothing stirs the passions like a controversial handball decision. A ball slams into a player's arm and one team and their fans are screaming for a penalty, while their opponents are claiming it was an accident. It is a difficult one for the referee to call in the heat of the moment.

What is 'Deliberate' Handball?

In FIFA's Laws of the Game (2005), Law 12 states that a free kick or penalty will be awarded if a player "handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)".

It adds: "Referees are reminded that deliberately handling the ball is normally punished only by a direct free-kick or penalty kick if the offense occurred inside the penalty area. FIFA continues, "A caution or dismissal is not normally required."

However, the document fails to describe what constitutes deliberate handball, and therefore places the responsibility firmly on the referee and referees' assistants. It may often depend on the referee's interpretation whether the hand or arm is in an "unnatural" position at the point of contact.

"Own Goal":




Suspended Game:

Tied Overtime Matches: