Last weekend, England, the home of soccer, was in an uproar due to the ‘handball’ controversy. There were complaints about handball-related decisions in as many as two games.
One was the 2023/24 English Premier League 6th round match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal on the 24th (Korean time), and the other was the 6th round league match between Sheffield United and Newcastle United on the 25th.스포츠토토
Britain’s public broadcaster BBC released soccer commentator Garth Crooks’ soccer editorial series ‘The Crooks of the Matter’ on the 25th. In an editorial on the 25th, Crooks said, “We, soccer fans, have to suffer from rule revisions for unknown reasons,” and added, “(Now) a penalty kick is declared if the ball touches a player’s arm or hand, whether intentionally or accidentally.” “What was wrong with the original handball rule?” he said, criticizing the current referees.
Because handball fouls are ultimately a matter of the player’s intention to touch the ball, many referees, spectators, and even players may have different opinions. The problem that Crooks points out is that “the referees do not consider this intentionality at all and declare a penalty kick unconditionally,” and argued, “They do not take into account the speed at which the ball moves or whether the player can remove his arm.”
Also, according to Crooks’ editorial, “Coaches are very dissatisfied with these rules,” and added, “More coaches need to come out and speak up to prevent ridiculous penalty kicks.”
A representative example that Crooks gave was the scene in the game between Tottenham and Arsenal, where the referee declared a penalty kick when Tottenham’s central defender Christian Romero was hit by the ball in his hand while blocking a shot with his body while defending.
Crooks said, “Tottenham did not give in to the penalty kick, but they had enough reasons to express their dissatisfaction,” and argued, “The (revised) rule should disappear.”
The Premier League’s handball regulations have been revised ahead of the 2021/22 season, and according to the Premier League’s official website, “referees make their judgment by looking at whether the arm or hand is in its natural position.”
He also declared that “arms away from the body make the body unnaturally larger” and that “such an act will be defined as a handball foul.” Crooks and Tottenham fans are pouring out complaints that they are in the process of completely abolishing the existing regulations, saying, “It is difficult to make an accurate judgment because intentionality is judged through video review (VAR).” According to a report by the British media company ‘Daily Mail’ on the 25th, “Fans complained about Romero’s penalty kick decision, saying, ‘(his hand) was too close to avoid such a shot. It was too harsh.'”
In his editorial, Crooks said, “No one was dissatisfied with the previous handball rules,” and “the revised handball rules continue to create controversy.”
Additionally, public opinion is that handball rules are not applied consistently. In the match between Newcastle and Sheffield played on the 25th, Newcastle took the lead in the 21st minute of the first half thanks to Sean Longstaff’s goal, but Newcastle’s winger Anthony Gordon, who set up the goal for Longstaff, had trouble keeping the ball from going outside the goal line.
Even though the ball clearly hit Gordon’s hand, a handball foul was not called and Longstaff was able to finish. British sports media ‘Talk Sports’ captured a photo of Gordon’s dribbling and posted it on its social media with the meaningful phrase, “Is it a handball?” Fans criticized the referee’s decision, saying, “It was definitely a foul,” “It was very intentional,” and “It was a handball that cannot be tolerated at all according to the rules.”
Tottenham Hotspur coach Angie Postekoglou also said in a press conference after the Tottenham-Arsenal match, “I have a long experience in soccer, but I think there is no consistency in handball fouls. In some cases, a foul is called, and in other cases, a foul is not called.” He expressed his disappointment with the referee’s decision. This is because Tottenham could have won if Romero’s handball decision had not resulted in a penalty kick. He also jokingly raised a complaint, saying, “In order to avoid such decisions, we need to create ‘armless defenders.'”
Tottenham conceded two goals due to Romero’s own goal and a penalty kick, but Son Heung-min’s two goals achieved a dramatic draw, earning them points for the first time since March 2021 at Arsenal’s home stadium, Emirates Stadium.