LMA writes to football lawmakers to share concerns over handball rule

The League Managers Association has written to football’s lawmakers to raise concerns over the handball rule.

The LMA made the step on behalf of its members this week – ahead of the International Football Association Board’s AGM next month.

The PA news agency understands the LMA’s technical department has been debating the issue with managers for some time.

A VAR decision on handball is displayed on a screen at Peterborough
A VAR decision on handball is displayed on a screen at Peterborough (Anthony Devlin/PA)

The rule was introduced at the start of the campaign, with goals scored or created with the use of the hand or arm – however deliberate or accidental – disallowed.

The IFAB meets in Belfast on February 29 for its AGM but it is highly unlikely the handball rule will be on the agenda this time. The LMA needed to raise the issue with the Football Association.

The FA would then have needed to submit the proposal by November 1 for discussion at the IFAB’s annual business meeting, which took place on December 3. The handball law was not discussed at the annual business meeting.

In November Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola called on Mike Riley, the general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, to explain the interpretations of the handball rule.

West Ham manager David Moyes and Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo have also recently vented their frustrations.

Sheffield United v West Ham United – Premier League – Bramall Lane
Players wait with referee Michael Oliver for the VAR decision on West Ham’s Robert Snodgrass’ goal during the Premier League match at Sheffield United (Martin Rickett/PA)

Hammers winger Robert Snodgrass had an equalising goal ruled out after Declan Rice’s accidental handball in the build up in their 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United last week.

Pedro Neto was also denied an opener in Wolves’ 1-0 FA Cup loss at Manchester United on Wednesday after the ball inadvertently struck Raul Jimenez’s hand.

Wolves boss Nuno said: “It’s the second time already (after a disallowed goal at Liverpool), bad luck for him.

“For sure it’s going to be reviewed, let’s wait and see. By the reaction from everyone involved and the reaction of the fans it’s mandatory they have to review and take a different approach.

Pedro Neto (right) appeals to referee Anthony Taylor as VAR disallows his goal for Wolves
Pedro Neto (right) appeals to referee Anthony Taylor as VAR disallows his goal for Wolves (Nick Potts/PA)

“Everybody is worried about that. The message is so clear, clear and loud. You see all over the stadiums people shouting and it’s not good.”

Gabriel Jesus had a late strike disallowed in Manchester City’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham in August after a VAR showed the ball hitting Aymeric Laporte’s arm.

It lead to Kevin De Bruyne criticising the call, saying he “doesn’t understand the new handball rule at all”.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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