April 10, 2021

Change in soccer rules: they tweak the criteria of what will and will not be hand

Slight change in the rules of football.

Slight change in the rules of football.

The International Board (IFAB) agreed that as of July 1 an involuntary hand preceding a goal by a team-mate will no longer be considered an offense, As well as maintaining the decision on changes due to concussions and keeping under review the possibility of making five substitutions due to the covid-19 pandemic.

An accidental hand leading a teammate to score a goal or have a scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offense, according to the IFAB, which decided keep under review the possibility of making up to five changes due to the impact of the pandemic of the covid-19 and concussion substitutions, tested in the Club World Cup held in Qatar last month.

The body responsible for rules of the game held its 135th annual meeting by videoconference on Friday and decided to delay from June 1 to July 1 the entry into force of the changes in these to give players, coaches and match officials more time to familiarize themselves with them, although the competitions will have flexibility to introduce changes before then.

The IFAB, which had the participation of the president of the FIFA, Gianni Infantino, reported in a statement the decisions taken.


. Given the the interpretation of hand offenses has not always been consistent Due to incorrect application of the rule, IFAB members confirmed that any touch of the ball with the hand / arm of a player is not an offense.

. It will be infraction when a player deliberately touches the ball with his hand / arm, for example, moving the hand / arm towards the ball.

. It will be an offense when he touches the ball with his hand / arm when you have unnaturally enlarged your body.

A player is considered to have unnaturally enlarged their body when their hand / arm position is not a consequence or can be justified by their player body movement for that specific situation. By having your hand / arm in this position, the player runs the risk of his hand / arm being hit by the ball and be sanctioned; or score on the opponent’s goal:

. It will be an offense when score a goal in the opposing goal:

Directly with your hand / arm, even accidentally, even by the goalkeeper.

OR immediately after the ball has touched your hand / armeven if it’s accidental.

The accidental hand leading a teammate to score a goal or to have a scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offense.

Another clarification was approved for Laws of the Game 2021/22, including Rule 11 (the definition in Rule 12 for the hands, according to which the arm ends at the bottom of the armpit, must be used when judging whether a player is in an offside position)


The IFAB confirmed that the decision to initiate concussion surrogate trials was based on the strong recommendation of the Concussion Expert Group, made up of leading medical experts and footballers who reviewed its application. Key stakeholders and IFAB football and technical advisory panels were also consulted and supported.

The tests, which are expected to continue until August 2022, They have already been introduced to international and national competitions around the world, and there are more competitions that are either about to join or that have shown interest in participating.

In the meantime, IFAB and FIFA will continue to collect, analyze and discuss feedback and data related to football and medicine that will serve as the basis for any decision on the possible implementation of the Laws of the Game.


Regarding the temporary modification of the Rule 3, which allows teams to use up to five substitutes in high-level competition matches (for club competitions ending on December 31, 2021 and national team competitions ending on July 31, 2022), the members agreed that the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on soccer should remain under review.


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