Almost every fan has had some kind of gripe with VAR and the handball law this season, but an example from Portugal’s win over Croatia highlights how unfair the rule actually is.
It’s ironic that a fair decision was only reached because VAR isn’t used in the UEFA Nations League and they didn’t have the chance to overturn the ref’s “error”
Liverpool forward Diogo Jota breaks through the back line and the ball accidentally pings up and hits his hand as he controls it, but you can see that there’s zero intent on his part.
Pictures from UEFA Nations League
The problem we have is that the rules state this should be disallowed because he’s an attacking player, but if this was a role reversal and it hit a defender’s hand then it’s likely that no foul would be given.
It’s hard to process this because as a fan it looks like the ref has made the correct call, but the laws of the game state something completely different.
Former PGMOL boss and Premier League ref Keith Hackett spoke to Caught Offside about the incident, and it’s obvious that he doesn’t agree with the inconsistencies that the handball laws throw up:
“The law states that it’s an offence if a team score or create scoring chance directly after it touches an attacker’s arm/hand, even if it’s accidental.
“It’s evident in this situation that it fulfils the criteria of the law, so the goal should’ve been ruled out.
“I will continue to state that accidental handball should not be penalised and this is a demonstration why.
“It’s a nonsense.”
It puts refs in an almost impossible situation because fans and pundits will always demand consistency above anything else, but the laws of the game literally have inconsistency built in.