Crystal Palace boss Hodgson: handball law is ‘nonsense’

BY SAM SMITH

Roy Hodgson has described the new handball rules as ‘nonsense’ after his Crystal Palace side were the latest to have a dubious penalty awarded against them.

The Eagles were beaten 2-1 by Everton on Saturday, and the winning goal came after Joel Ward was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty box. Referee Kevin Friend awarded a spot-kick following consultation with VAR and his pitch-side monitor.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body which creates the laws of the game, state that a player will be punished if the ball strikes an arm that has made their body “unnaturally bigger”.

The laws have seen several spot-kicks awarded upon VAR review this season, including one scored by the Eagles at Manchester United in their 3-1 win last weekend. Brighton’s Neal Maupay was also a victim of the rule in the Seagulls’ 3-2 defeat against the Red Devils.

Hodgson said: “I criticised [the penalty we won against Man United] if you remember correctly.

“I don’t think this one was a penalty, and I don’t think the game [Brighton versus Man United] I watched on TV – before this game started – when Maupay was adjudged to have handled the ball. I didn’t think that was a penalty.

“I think it’s nonsense. I think it’s nonsense when you get one, and I think it’s  nonsense when we get one against us.”

The 73-year-old suggested that the law amendments only serve a purpose for discussion and is to the detriment of those inside the game.

Ward was also involved in a similar incident only slightly prior to conceding the penalty when Richarlison’s cross struck his hand. On that occasion, the defender was deemed to be trying to move his arm away from the ball.

“I think it’s only serving a purpose for you guys [in the media]. You’re looking for discussions and dramatic moments,” Hodgson continued.

“But for us in football, I find it very, very disappointing that the game we love and believe in is being reduced to this level every week where games are being decided by penalty decisions for handball which are definitely not.

“I’m not suggesting that you [journalists] don’t want to see a good game as well, all I’m saying is that, unfortunately, instead of the quality of football from the two teams, which was actually very good and probably was worthy of the two teams as well, all of the discussion is going to be about ‘handball or not’.

“And probably, I find myself in the spotlight, It’s obvious and true that the rule is wrong, and I don’t understand how we in football have allowed it.”


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