LaLiga Santander Handball the cause of 53.8 percent of spot kicks
An action when a player hits a ball with his arm, which is separated from the body, while falling within his team’s box is a straight penalty kick in LaLiga Santander where the application of the rules is stricter than the rest of the major five European leagues.
That’s the main reason why after five games into the 2020/21 season 53.8 percent of the penalty kicks, or else seven of the 13 spot kicks, that have been given are due to a handball.
Last season ended with 48 out of the 149 penalties (32.2 percent) being awarded because a player handled the ball inside the box.
Meanwhile, six handballs have been given so far in the Premier League, three in Serie A and Ligue 1 and just one in the Bundesliga, with several players and coaches protesting in the English league about the referees’ decisions.
Their protests about how rule 12 was being applied has caused the officials to announce a more lenient application of the regulation in the future and, according to several British media outlets, they have the approval of the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
However, Spain’s Technical Committee of Referees had no comment to make on this data, saying that the rule is the same for everyone.
The IFAB is the organisation in charge of establishing and modifying the rules of football. One of the novelties presented this season in the laws of the game was in regard to ball handling.
According to IFAB’s Law 12, a penalty should be given when a player “touches the ball with their hand/arm when the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger or the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level (unless the player deliberately plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm).
“Except for the above offences, it is not an offence if the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from the player’s own head or body (including the foot) or directly from the head or body (including the foot).
“[Neither is a penalty when] another player who is close or if the hand/arm is close to the body and does not make the body unnaturally bigger or when a player falls and the hand/arm is between the body and the ground to support the body, but not extended laterally or vertically away from the body.”
Juan Andujar Oliver, a former referee who is currently a commentator on Radio MARCA for arbitration matters, stresses that the rule of the handball is very complex.
“For me the key is in the voluntary or involuntary nature of the action, but it is an issue that will never be fixed,” Andujar notes. “I have been saying since last year that Spain is the country in the world in which the most penalties have been given for handball.”