The debate over the Premier League’s new technology was in full flow once again today, after Manchester City’s last minute winner against Spurs was ruled out. Upon viewing the replay, there didn’t seem to be any infringement in the buildup. However, referee Michael Oliver would soon rule the ball out after being told of a handball in the buildup by the VAR official, much to the surprise of those in the stadium and watching at home.
Upon closer inspection, it appears the ball deflected off Aymeric Laporte’s arm before it was finished off by Gabriel Jesus.
While it may look incredibly harsh, this was actually a new Premier League rule in action. The new law, which was introduced for this season, means that any use of the hand that results in the goal (deliberate or not) will result in the goal being ruled out.
According to the IFAB, the law stresses that a deliberate handball remains an offence but that the following scenarios will result in a free-kick even if accidental:
if the ball goes into the goal after touching an attacking player’s hand or arm a player gains control/possession of the ball after it touches their hand/arm and then scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity a ball touches a player’s hand/arm which has made their body unnaturally bigger the ball touches a player’s hand/arm when it is above their shoulder (unless the player has deliberately played the ball which then touches their hand/arm)
As Laporte’s touch set up Jesus for the chance, this meant the goal had to be ruled out. You can disagree with the rule, but you can’t blame VAR for what happened.
Manchester City weren’t happy, but they can have few complaints. One thing that is for certain, Pep Guardiola must be getting fairly sick of the new technology at this stage.