The handball law has always been a bit vague. It always seemed like the offence had to be intentional to draw any kind of foul, but now we are seeing footballers being penalised simply because human beings have arms, which they can’t really do much about.
The rise of VAR has made thumping the ball into a group of bodies and hoping it strikes a hand a legitimate tactic; it saw Man United get a vital penalty against PSG in the Champions League last season and will no doubt strike again at any moment.
Chelsea might feel a bit aggrieved that what they thought was their winning goal was cancelled out by VAR this evening, but they might also feel lucky that the new handball law saw them awarded a penalty and got an Ajax player sent off.
It seems like Gary Lineker was mainly referring to the disallowed goal here, but he’s the latest to have a swipe at VAR and the new laws:
The new handball law is ludicrous and it gives VAR the chance to rule out goals that should never be ruled out.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 5, 2019
It does feel like every game is being influenced by VAR in recent weeks, and not usually in a good way. It’s almost like the refs are relying on it to make their decisions and refusing to award anything potentially big.
The big problem is not a lot of things are being overturned, referees being reluctant to give anything is having a negative impact on games and the whole system gets criticised as a result.
It’s currently ruining football, but we will have to wait for one truly shocking decision that ruins a Champions League final or something big to prompt any kind of change.