For 90 minutes, Tottenham contained Steve Bruce’s Newcastle team and looked set to end the match with a 1-nil scoreline, but this all came crumbling thanks to the new handball rules for the season, after the ball struck Eric Dier’s hand in the box 18 and was given as a foul.
Logically speaking, Newcastle should never have been given penalty. The Spurs midfielder was facing away from the ball at the time, so there was no way he could have been expected to get his arm out of the way of the ball.
The Premier League rule says that a player should be penalised if his arm is in an unnatural position when it makes contact with the ball, but Dier was simply using his for elevation as he jumped for the ball.
According to the rule change this year, an accidental handball should be penalised only when it is committed by an attacking player and leads to a goal, yet officials in the Premier League appear to have been encouraged to penalise defending players, too.
Jose Mourinho frustration was highly understood as he did not hide his anger by storming down the tunnel after the penalty was awarded, but repeatedly refused to comment on the matter afterwards, saying he would only incur a fine from the Football Association if he did so and that he would rather give the money to charity.
The reason for Dier being penalised has since been clarified by the Premier League, stating “Dier’s arm was raised above his shoulder which is why he was penalised. Intent is not something that a referee can take into account so it doesn’t matter that the ball struck his arm behind his back.”
At this point, it is high time the International Football Association Board clarify how the rule should be interpreted, or a meeting needs to be held by officials to know how to approach certain situations. If it isn’t handled now, we risk “killing the game” just as Roy Hodgson stated, after his team conceded a similar dire penalty.
by muyiwa aguda