The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has announced another change to the handball rule that will come into effect from the start of July.
Football’s leading lawmakers have now confirmed that because the interpretation of handball incidents have “not always been consistent”, the rule has been altered.
A statement read: “Accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence.”
Members of IFAB have decided that not every touch of a player’s hand/arm in the build-up to a goal will be pulled back for a foul, or disallowed after being reviewed by the VAR.
In terms of whether a player makes themselves “unnaturally bigger” and the ball strikes their arm, that is still down to the official’s judgement.
The statement goes on to say: “Following this clarification, it is a handball offence if a player: 1. Deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, for example moving the hand/arm towards the ball.
“2. Touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger. A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement to that specific situation. By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and being penalised.
“3. Scores in the opponents’ goal – directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper, or immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental.”
Changes to the handball law come into effect from July 1 but competitions can introduce them sooner if they wish, which is likely to be the case with the European Championship, which begins on 11 June and ends on 11 July.