One comment I receive from several coaches and parents at all levels is the lack of ‘hand balls’ being called. We teach referees to be aware of several aspects of ball to hand contact and that not all contact is guilty of ‘handling’.  Most scenarios  are just ball hitting the hand and nothing needs to be addressed. There are several online training guides that we use to train referees – here is a link to one training video which is a bit outdated, but still has good basic information to help you as a coach, parent or player.

Additionally, Law 12 in The Laws of the Game provide a clear definition for the referee to apply:

Handling the ball involved a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with the hand or arm. The following must be considered – 

  • Movement of the hand toward to the ball – not the ball toward the hand
  • The distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
  • The position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an offence

The goalkeeper has the same restrictions on handling the ball as any other player outside the penalty area. 

Stay tuned for more rules clarifications throughout the year!