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Sport

Hodgson says 'nonsense' handball law is ruining the game

LONDON (Reuters) - Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said the new interpretation of the handball law is ruining the game, after his team lost 2-1 to Everton after a controversial penalty.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace v Everton - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - September 26, 2020 Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson Pool via REUTERS/Bradley Collyer

Referee Kevin Friend awarded Everton a penalty, which was converted by Richarlison, after the ball struck the arm of Palace defender Joel Ward, who appeared to be pulling his arm away from the flight of the ball.

The rule was changed for last season by FIFA’s rule-making body IFAB and is having a bigger impact on the Premier League this season after FIFA insisted all leagues apply the same interpretations and uses of the VAR video referee system.

In practice, the latest interpretations of the handball law are seeing more offences given for what would once have been viewed as accidental handball.

“I think the rule is a nonsense. I can’t understand how everyone in the game of football - the Premier League, referees, managers and coaches - have allowed this rule to come into operation. It is ruining the game of football, no question of that,” said Hodgson.

“We can’t understand what constitutes a handball and what doesn’t. The idea that you can look at this on a screen and this constitutes a handball. It is just an absolute nonsense. I don’t want to profit from it or lose from it,” added the 73-year-old.

“I predict what will happen is players will start flicking the ball on to a hand and screaming ‘handball!’.

“This was a really good game destroyed by a decision. I do not believe in the rule. People in football find it hard to accept.

Palace themselves benefited from such a decision in their 3-1 win at Manchester United last week when Victor Lindelof was penalised for a similar offence. Hodgson said then that he preferred the “simple version” of the handball law.

“I criticised it last week, if you remember correctly,” he said, before questioning the decision in the earlier game on Saturday which saw Brighton lose 3-2 to a stoppage time penalty when Neal Maupay was ruled to have handled.

“I don’t think the game I watched on TV before this game started was a penalty, Maupay handled it. I think it was a nonsense and this was a nonsense,” he said.

“It’s good for you guys (in the media) and your dramatic moments, but for us in football I find it very, very disappointing that the game is being reduced to this every week.”

Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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