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Why football’s new handball rule is proving so controversial

Why football’s new handball rule is proving so controversial
Thursday, 15 October 2020 By George Cottle

The 2020/2021 Premier League season is just four rounds in and already players, managers fans and pundits have been left bemused[1] by the changes to the handball law, which has already resulted in six penalties for accidental handball. In contrast, only nineteen penalties were awarded for the same offence during the entirety of the 2019/2020 season.  This article examines how the rule has changed and why it is causing controversy, looking specifically at:

  • How the laws of football are made and changed;
  • How the handball rule has changed this season;
  • How the new rule is being interpreted; and
  • The impact it is having on results.

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George Cottle

George Cottle

George read Politics with Economics at the University of Bath and worked at Goldman Sachs prior to changing careers and undertaking a law conversion. He trained at Mishcon de Reya LLP and qualified in September 2020. While at the firm he sat in the following four seats: Fraud Litigation; Real Estate; Reputation Management; and Tax Litigation. During his third seat, he often assisted in advising Premier League players and individuals in sports media.

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