Penalty goals for handball on line?

LONDON • Penalty goals for handling the ball on the line could be a thing of the future if proposals compiled by the International Football Association Board's (Ifab) technical director are accepted.

The proposals in a document titled "Play Fair" - which also include players being able to play free kicks and corners to themselves - are to be debated over the next nine months and could be added to at a meeting of Ifab, football's global rule-making body, next month.

The intention is to increase the amount of playing time, according to The Times of London, which had access to the document.

"It is a radical document," Ifab technical director David Elleray told The Times.

"My starting point was to look at the laws and say 'what are they for?', and if there is no particular reason then would changing them make the game better?"

Awarding a goal for handball on the line would have probably seen Ghana reach the 2010 World Cup semi-finals as Uruguay's Luis Suarez was sent off for handling Dominic Adiyiah's goal-bound shot on the line in the dying seconds of extra time. Asamoah Gyan failed to convert the penalty and Uruguay went on to win in the penalty shoot-out.

Elleray also recommends that referees only be able to blow for half-time or full-time when the ball is out of play and penalties being awarded if a goalkeeper handles a back pass.

On the other hand, goalkeepers will be able to play goal kicks to team-mates inside the area, with their opponents obliged to be outside it.

However, for those taking a penalty, there may be no second chance should their first effort be saved and rebounded into play - the document recommends that a goal kick be awarded automatically.

"There would thus be no need for players to crowd on the edge of the penalty area ready to run in early," reads the document. "To discourage them further, if an attacking player enters the penalty area before the penalty kick is taken the kick is 'missed'; if a defending player does the same and the kick is missed/saved, it is retaken."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2017, with the headline 'Penalty goals for handball on line?'. Print Edition | Subscribe