UEFA have confirmed that Euro 2020 will see the use of updated handball regulations, including the new ruling that accidental handball in the build-up to goals will no longer be punished.
Fans all around the globe have been tearing their hair out over the current rules, which have punished players for failing to sever their own arms at a moments notice, and football's rulemakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), have long been keen to act.
The handball law was updated in March and initially intended to kick in in time for next season, but UEFA's referee chief has confirmed that plans have been accelerated in an attempt to ensure Euro 2020 doesn't fall victim to constant controversy.
"The way the law has been rewritten is more according to the spirit of football and gives players the freedom to play football," said Roberto Rosetti (via The Independent).
Accidental handballs in the build-up to goals were immediately ruled out in this past season, with IFAB's latest law change coming just hours after one such incident in a meeting between Tottenham and Fulham.
What is the new handball law?
It is a handball offence if a player:
- Deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, for example moving the hand/arm towards the ball
- 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 for 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
- 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.
We'll also see a change to VAR's involvement in offside calls. Rosetti said there must be 'clear evidence' for the VAR official to involve themselves in goal decisions, bringing an end to goals being ruled out because a striker's toe is half an inch too long.
TV Viewers will no longer see VAR's working-out of offside calls and will instead only be shown the final ruling.
"Football is about controversial moments and it is not always easy to define the line of intervention for our VARs," Rosetti added. "We are consistent in our application of VAR intervention. We want to intervene when something is very clear.
"UEFA believes in this project (VAR). We really believe it is an important help for the referees. Not only for the referees but an important help for football. Of course we need to use this project in the correct way, it can also be a dangerous project.
"We need to be careful, we need to be clear. We need to follow the principles of the laws of the game. We want to continue to use VAR only for clear and obvious mistakes.
"We gave to our VARs some guidelines for intervention but we know in football we have 'grey' situations. That's why in these grey situations, we believe it's better not to touch, not to intervene."