FIFA’s takeover of VAR has led to baffled referees, indignant bosses and has left defenders ‘without very much hope at all’ … the laws are in the wrong hands and the Premier League is paying for it
- FIFA’s takeover of handball law has led to greater controversy and uncertainty
- There have been several contentious decisions regarding handballs recently
- Mark Clattenburg says Victor Lindelof incident shouldn’t have led to a penalty
But FIFA’s declaration on July 9 that they would be taking over the running of VAR from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) lies behind the new handball controversies which the Premier League accept could be the game’s talking point for weeks — and perhaps all season.
The English game has always been lenient on handballs, with referees allowed to apply their intelligence. But at a stroke, FIFA now wield a control which has meant far less room for manoeuvre this season.
FIFA’s takeover of the handball law has led to greater controversy and uncertainty
It has meant the award of penalties that seem beyond logic, such as Leeds debutant Robin Koch being penalised when the ball was deflected from his leg on to his hand at Anfield.
Even more unfathomable was the penalty resulting from a shot that deflected off Victor Lindelof’s arm for Manchester United against Crystal Palace. And Matt Doherty faced the same summary justice when a ball flicked off Harry Winks and clipped his hand from a mere yard. ‘Embarrassing,’ said talkSPORT’s Ally McCoist.
Leeds’ Robin Koch was penalised when the ball was deflected from his leg on to his hand at Anfield
But defenders who extend their arm leave themselves ‘without very much hope at all,’ according to one source. Players and managers have been left indignant and even referees themselves are baffled by the stringent application.
Sportsmail’s Mark Clattenburg, who officiated under these rules in China, where they were also applied very literally, felt they brought clarity and removed the nonsense of trying to establish, in real time, whether a player deliberately handled.
‘You can’t put yourself in a player’s head and establish intent. Only the player knows what he intended,’ Clattenburg says.
But he still feels the Lindelof decision was wrong. ‘You can never judge a handball on a slow-motion sequence like that. The position of the defender’s arms were a consequence of his running action.’
Mark Clattenburg says that the penalty given against Victor Lindelof was wrongly awarded
On Friday The Premier League moved to provide some clarity, asking former referee Chris Foy to deliver his own interpretation. Foy explained that an…