Football Law Committee clarifies the interpretation of handball

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee in a virtual meeting this week clarified handball interpretations to align with interpretations of international football. It is not a rule change year for football.

Football officials will be trained to assess whether a handball violation has occurred.

One of the important things is that not every contact of the ball with a player’s hand/arm is a violation. Officials should assess a player’s hand/arm position in relation to their body movement in a particular situation.

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In general, a player should be judged on whether the hand/arm that is being used to make contact with the ball is out of his or her body.

In addition, when considering offside, the hands and arms of all players are not considered. The upper boundary of the arm aligns with the lower part of the armpit for the purpose of determining if a player is in an inside/outside position.

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Change/abandon pandemic rules

Rule changes and waivers made due to the COVID-19 pandemic will remain in effect for the 2021 season. These include:

  • Allow training and team areas to extend beyond 20 yards from the neutral area 5 yards from midway in either direction, if applicable.
  • If an official paper NCAA plot score is used, allow the referee to visually/verbally verify the information is correct instead of requiring a signature (this is the same process for an electronic box score).
  • Raise the penalty for spitting or biting an opponent, or anyone involved in the match, up to a two-match suspension and classifying it as a violent II red card. In addition, coughing on the opponent or anyone involved in the match will be classified as a violent II red card. All removal and suspension rules regarding violent conduct II will apply.

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READ MORE Football Law Committee clarifies the interpretation of handball

Jake Nichol

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