Harry Kane and Riyad Mahrez ‘goals’ under new handball law

Harry Kane and Riyad Mahrez’s controversial disallowed goals for Tottenham and Manchester City last week would have been allowed under an amended handball law to be introduced next season.

The International Football Association Board [IFAB] agreed an amendment to the current law at an AGM earlier this year, which was to be implemented after June 1.

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But competitions which were suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic and have restarted, including the Premier League, were not required to apply the amendment.

The updated law states that an attacker’s accidental handball is only punished if it occurs ‘immediately’ before a goal or goal-scoring opportunity.

‘Immediately’ was added to emphasise that the underlying principle is that a player cannot score directly with the hand/arm, even accidentally.

To assist the law’s application, lawmakers clarified: “It is not an offence if, after an accidental handball, the ball travels some distance (pass or dribble) and/or there are several passes before the goal or goal-scoring opportunity.”

Under the new law, Kane and Mahrez’s goals would have been allowed because they did not score, or have a goal-scoring opportunity, ‘immediately’ after gaining possession.

This season’s law, which Premier League referees must use under the Laws of the Game, makes no reference to the immediacy of the accidental handball.

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