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IFAB: New handball rule can be adopted when games resume

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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) issued a letter from secretary Lukas Brud on Wednesday, outlining several changes to the game.

The “tee shirt line” handball rule may be coming to club football quicker than expected due to the coronavirus suspension of the 2019/20 season.

IFAB will allow leagues the choice to use the new handball rule when matches resume this season, also making changes to VAR protocol and vowing to review the offside rule.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The new handball rule states that the shoulder goes to the end of the shirt sleeve or the bottom of the armpit (though obviously not in the case of a long-sleeve jersey).

For the purposes of determining handball offences, the ‘arm’ stops at the bottom of the armpit

So… get ready for baggy, longer jersey sleeves, or the increased recruitment of players with the longest armpits.

Kidding aside, the handball rule desperately needed clarification and we’ll see if this gives enough to fans and players alike.

Referees will now be “expected” to go to the screen on the field when a call is subjective, forcing the official to either uphold or overrule his initial call.

This same post says IFAB will now allow accidental handballs in the run-up to a goal in certain situations.

“Accidental handball by an attacking player should only be penalized if it ‘immediately’ results in a goal or an obvious opportunity for the player and/or their team to score a goal (i.e. following the handball, the ball travels only a short distance and/or there are very few passes).”

Well, that needs some clarification.

Back to the timing issue for the new handball rule, it seems logical that leagues would want to introduce new laws with a new season but stand-by for the decision of your favorite league.

As for the offside rule, “The members agreed that the fundamental philosophy of offside is underpinned by a desire to encourage attacking football and the scoring of goals. It was further agreed, therefore, that Law 11 – Offside should be analyzed and reviewed with a view to potentially proposing changes reflecting this philosophy.”

It’s a lot to unpack, and we’ll surely here from proponents and opponents of the changes soon. As always, implementation will make the biggest difference in how these changes are received.

Villa manager Smith laments penalty as relegation woes continue

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Aston Villa’s hopes of a result at Leicester City went from possible to unlikely in a heartbeat, and the Villans’ day was laughable by the final whistle.

Dean Smith‘s men conceded a controversial penalty and then fell apart in a 4-0 loss to the third-place Foxes at King Power Stadium on Monday.

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“Very tough night,” Smith said on NBCSN after the match. ” You don’t want to go and lose 4-0 anywhere. We started the game quite bright first 10 minutes but they had a lot of the ball. We made a big mistake for the goal. Going in at halftime and change a few things up.”

Then came the hour mark, as Smith was preparing a pair of attacking subs in search of an equalizer. As the reinforcements strode to the touchline, Villa defender Tyrone Mings blocked a Harvey Barnes cross with his shoulder and Leicester was awarded a penalty.

[ MORE: Vardy, Rodgers on Leicester win ]

“Second half they get a penalty. I didn’t even know what it was given for at the time. Obviously checked for handball. Looking back it hits his shoulder but it gets given, and they score and it becomes a bit of a basketball match. … We then became architects of our own downfall.”

That they did.

Villa was walloped on the day, and things don’t get any easier with Chelsea headlining a brutal run of fixtures. The club sits 19th, two points back of a trio of teams.

How can Smith and his crew find enough points to stay in the top flight?

“Being hard to beat,” he said. “That’s what we wanted to be coming here today. For periods we were. The scoreline, unfortunately, is a harsh reflection.”

Saint-Maximin magic leads Newcastle past 10-man Saints

Southampton v. Newcastle United recap and video highlights
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Allan Saint-Maximin‘s second-half solo goal helped Newcastle United find a way past 10-man Southampton 1-0 at St. Mary’s on Saturday.

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Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was brilliant in the loss, but sas his side slip a point and a place behind the Magpies.

Newcastle United now has 35 points and sits 13th. That’s good for eight points clear of the drop zone.


Three things we learned

1. VAR a big help for Newcastle: Southampton was down a man for more than an hour thanks to VAR, which asked referee Graham Banks to review his yellow card decision for a Djenepo stamp on Isaac Hayden. The referee saw fit to send off the Malian.

Newcastle would’ve been felt indebted to VAR when it spotted a clear handball in the box from Sofiane Boufal, but Matt Ritchie‘s penalty was well-saved by Alex McCarthy. Speaking of the keeper.

2. McCarthy keeps Saints alive: A fantastic triple save came before the Saints went down to 10 men, and McCarthy stayed hot with his penalty save on former Portsmouth man Ritchie. The saves kept coming until Valery’s error put the keeper to the sword.

3. Saint-Maximin is Newcastle’s life force: With respect to lively Miguel Almiron, the Magpies’ attack lives and dies with wing wizard Allan Saint-Maximin. The young Frenchman’s 4.3 dribbles per game is nearly triple that of his closest teammate (Almiron), and the Magpies are 1W-3D-7L when he doesn’t see the pitch.

Man of the Match: It would’ve been Shelvey in the first half, but his touch betrayed him in the second phase. Saint-Max is the man here, just over McCarthy.


The hosts surged out of the gates, a couple of corner kicks leading to a dangerous chance that Matt Ritchie blocked for Newcastle.

Alex McCarthy made three incredible saves for Saints after Jonjo Shelvey cued up Dwight Gayle for a chance and Miguel Almiron had two chances at rebounds.

Southampton then tested Martin Dubravka with a Yan Valery drive, but the goalkeeper was well-positioned to keep the match scoreless.

Moussa Djenepo then saw a yellow card for a stamp on Isaac Hayden, but VAR Peter Banks recommended that referee Graham Banks have another look at it. It became a red card.

McCarthy soon made an incredible save on a diving Gayle header, and the striker missed an ensuing chance wide off a Allan Saint-Maximin feed.

Jamaal Lascelles had the ball in the goal from a free kick but a raised linesman’s flag denied him.

VAR then awarded Newcastle a penalty when Sofiane Boufal handled the ball at the edge of the box. It was Newcastle’s first penalty of the year, and McCarthy did well to save Matt Ritchie.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Saint-Maximin won a 52nd minute free kick on the left side of the box, but Shelvey’s pass was cleared away.

Hayden soon headed a corner kick wide of the goal.

Saint-Maximin put Valery under pressure before picking his pocket and rolling a ball under McCarthy, off the post, and into the goal.

The 2 Robbies podcast: VAR carnage at Stamford Bridge

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect a crazy game at Stamford Bridge that saw Chelsea on the wrong side of several VAR decisions (00:45).

The gents also recap the big moments from the weekend; Liverpool beat Norwich (18:30), Son’s late winner against Aston Villa (24:45) and Arteta‘s attackers thrash Newcastle United (30:15).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Chelsea’s Lampard: VAR didn’t do its job

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It’s no surprise, but Frank Lampard agrees with the majority of people who watched Monday’s match between Chelsea and Manchester United.

Harry Maguire should’ve been sent off for a kick to the groin of Michy Batshuayi, and VAR also missed the shove before the shove on Brandon Williams that negated a Chelsea equalizer in a 2-0 loss at Stamford Bridge.

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Here’s what Lampard had to say about both incidents, via Football.London:

“Decisions are crucial. Maguire should get a red. I think that is what VAR was brought in for. I think the Zouma one should have stood: Azpilicueta was shoved.

“It is just the wrong decision. That is what it was brought in for. It is very confusing. I think everyone I have spoken to has said it.”

Lampard acknowledged that Olivier Giroud was just offside on his goal, but that’s about all the manager was willing to give the officials on the day.

The Chelsea manager also said that N’Golo Kante has an adductor injury and that “it doesn’t look good,” while injured Christian Pulisic will not be ready for a massive top four tilt this weekend versus Tottenham Hotspur.

Here’s Lampard’s interview that aired on NBCSN: