The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s lawmaking body, has announced that an accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offense.
The controversial section of the handball law came into play during Thursday night’s Premier League game between Fulham and Tottenham, the Cottagers seeing a goal by Josh Maja ruled out when the ball cannoned into the hand of his team-mate Mario Lemina from a Davinson Sanchez clearance when he was a matter of yards away.
And the IFAB has now agreed on a change, which will come into effect from July 1.
However, competitions have the flexibility to introduce changes prior to that date, IFAB said.
An IFAB statement read: “As the interpretation of handball incidents has not always been consistent due to incorrect applications of the law, the members confirmed that not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence.”
It added: “Accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence.”
It will remain a handball offence if a player scores accidentally with their hand or arm, or uses their hand or arm directly before scoring.
This latest decision will affect all football competitions all over the world, including the Nigeria Professional Football League, Nigeria National League, Nigeria Nationwide League and the Nigeria Women’s Football League.