PREMIER LEAGUE refs will ignore World Cup laws on handball penalties when the new season gets under way with Sunday’s Community Shield.
Fifa decided that any in-box incident in which a defender handled the ball with his arms away from his body — after the previous touch had been by the attacking side — would be deemed a spot-kick.
Getty Images – Getty Refs at the World Cup took a strict interpretation of the handball rules – such as when Iran were awarded a late spot-kick against Portugal
There were several controversial decisions made in Russia.
They included Iran’s late leveller against Portugal and the penalty awarded to France when a flick crashed into the arm of Croatia’s Ivan Perisic in the final.
In all, there were a record 29 penalties awarded at the World Cup, five of them for contentious handball calls as the Fifa refs operated a consistent policy.
But English referees’ chief Mike Riley has told his whistlers to revert to last season’s interpretation of handball for this term.
Reuters Officials at Russia 2018 penalised handball when arms were struck away from the body
Reuters Ivan Perisic was blown up for an offence in the World Cup final that Premier League refs have been told not to award
That means a defender will only be deemed to have committed an offence if he makes a movement towards the ball with his arm or hands, or if contact is made in an “unnatural position”.
Clubs will be visited by officials before the Premier League kicks off next Friday.
They will be told that the Perisic incident would not be deemed an offence during this season.
That was the approach taken last season, when just six spot-kicks were awarded in the top flight for crosses or shots that were blocked by defenders.
That figure was half the 12 penalties given in 2016-17.