Stonewall Youth Soccer Association
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Handle Ball



Remember, it is the Referee's chose to call a foul, not the coaches, parents or players.

So, have you ever heard these comments during a game    

"Hey Ref! That was a handball! Didn't you see it? The defender gained an advantage"!

"He didn't call it! He must be blind"! Or "he doesn't know the rules"!

How often do we hear 'Hey ref, that was a handball'?

Technically, there is no such offence as 'handball', and this is where a lot of the confusion arises.

Law 12 states that one of the major offences (fouls) are 'handles the ball deliberately'. No matter how hard you look, you will see no reference in the Law to 'gaining an advantage' by handling the ball – whether deliberate or accidental - although that is sometimes the reason why the appeal gets made.

It's pretty straightforward - if it's deliberate, it's a foul, anything else and play should continue. "But it was in the penalty area", is another comment often heard. Still doesn't matter, unless it's deliberate of course.

So how do referees know if it is deliberate, without being mind readers?

One guide they use is - did it look like 'ball to hand' or 'hand to ball'?

The 'hand to ball' is the one that needs to be called.

The real question that needs to be asked is why there are any 'handballs' called that apparently should not be?

One reason is that inexperienced referees find this is an easy call to make, and one that few people argue with.

The referees who get this call right, however, can often be heard to say "No intent, keep playing", and that is the key - if there was no intent to handle the ball deliberately, we should keep playing.

Please explain to the players, coaches and parents what you will do, if a ball strikes a hand/arm during a game. If no intent was made by the player, then play well proceed.

If you decide to make a call, blow your whistle, point to where the play will restart, place the ball and restart the game by a direct kick.

Remember, you make the call.