I hope you had a chance to read the first of two posts showing ‘handball’ examples from actual game footage from this last weekend.
Here’s footage of a second handball controversy during that same game that I officiated. This incident took place during the second half, after the first controversial handball incident.
Take a look at the clip first and then read on below. Handling infraction in your view? Yes or No?
According to the Laws of the Game this was a handling infraction because the player’s left hand and arm was in an unnatural position during contact with the ball. In my opinion, the player made herself larger the moment she jumped for the ball.
She turns her face away from the ball but you can see in slow motion that she sticks her left arm out and moves it toward the ball as she jumps. She made this decision just before she jumped while she was closing in on the goalkeeper.
If she had truly wanted to protect herself from the keeper’s shot or avoid the ball-arm contact then both arms would have been tucked against her body or covering her face or chest. She would also have jumped into the shot mostly with her back, not mostly frontal or sideways.
So I blew the whistle and disallowed the goal she scored in the moment after the handling infraction.
You can imagine that the folks associated with the white team weren’t happy, especially given that I had not awarded them a penalty for a similar situation earlier in the game. This frustration is understandable, of course.
Their main argument (which you can hear in the clip) was that the white player in the above clip also had no time to react to the shot from the goalkeeper, just like the earlier incident.
However, the key difference here is that the above white player had her left arm in an unnatural position in an attempt to gain an advantage. The blue player earlier in the game did not, as explained in my earlier blog post.
I hope you agree that it’s worth walking through these examples to show how the Laws of the Game are applied during actual games. It’s important to understand the nuances of the laws and how to interpret them according to FIFA and U.S. Soccer instructions.
And please keep in mind that referees have to make split-second decisions during fast-paced live action such as those shown in these two blog posts. We try our best but it won’t always be the correct decision, unfortunately.
And two reasonable people can come to different yet reasonable conclusions. This is why FIFA’s Laws of the Game include the phrase “…in the opinion of the referee…”.