Football's rulemaker IFAB has changed the laws of the game so that accidental handballs leading to a team mate scoring will no longer be penalised.
While goals scored directly from the arm or hand or immediately after will continue to be ruled out, even if accidental, it will no longer be the case that goals will be chalked off if the ball touches a team mate's hand earlier in the buildup.
"Accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence," IFAB said in a statement following their Annual General Meeting.
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The change will come into effect on July 1.
It comes too late for Premier League club Fulham who had a goal disallowed for handball during their 1-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday.
Josh Maja thought he had scored an equaliser but the goal was disallowed after a VAR check because a clearance by a Tottenham defender had struck Mario Lemina's arm, which was down by his side and therefore clearly accidental. The ball then dropped for Maja to score.
"We just need some common sense. We are trying to make football so pure and sterile it becomes unrealistic," Fulham manager Scott Parker said afterwards.
One complicated area of the handball law is when a player is deemed to have used his arm/hand to make the body "unnaturally bigger" such as when blocking a shot or cross.
Not every touch of a player's arm/hand will be an offence, and it was confirmed in the meeting that referees should continue to use their judgment in determining the validity of the hand/arm's position in relation to the player's movement in a given situation.
IFAB also said the concussion substitute trials are expected to continue until 2022 and that the option of allowing five substitutes would remain under review because of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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