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Handball revamp confirmed as IFAB reveals new laws of the game for 2019-20

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has revealed the full wording of the new handball law in an attempt to add greater clarity for players, officials and supporters. 

The change to the handball law was one of a series of updates to the Laws of the Game, which come into effect on June 1 and are likely to be used at all this summer's major tournaments -- such as the FIFA Women's World Cup, Copa America and CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The IFAB, which announced the outline changes earlier this month, has also effectively outlawed the contested dropped ball, as well as bringing in measures to stop jostling in a defensive wall and removing the requirement for the ball to leave the penalty area on defensive free free kicks and goal kicks. 

Previously, the handball law centred around the offence being a deliberate act. While that is still the case, there are now more exact examples of what should and should not be penalised for handball. 

The IFAB now states that a handball is awarded if a player makes his body bigger with his arm, and it is automatically an offence if the arm is above shoulder height. It is now also clear that there is no handball offence if the ball deflects onto the arm, or if the ball hits a player who is using his arm for support.

A free kick or penalty will be awarded if: 

- the ball goes into the goal after touching an attacking player's hand/arm
- a player gains control/possession of the ball after it touches their hand/arm and then scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity
- the 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)

Manchester United's Paul Pogba handballs against West Brom
Having an arm above shoulder height will now be considered an automatic handball.

There is no offence if:

- the ball touches a player's hand/arm directly from their own head/body/foot or the head/body/foot of another player who is close/near
- the ball touches a player's hand/arm which is close to their body and has not made their body unnaturally bigger
- if a player is falling and the ball touches their hand/arm when it is between their body and the ground to support the body (but not extended to make the body bigger)
- If the goalkeeper attempts to "clear" (release into play) a throw-in or deliberate kick from a teammate but the "clearance" fails, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball

The change to the dropped ball rule now means that should one be needed inside a penalty area, it will be dropped to the goalkeeper's feet. Outside of the penalty area, it will be dropped to a member of the team to last touch the ball. IFAB believes that contested dropped balls led to "a 'manufactured' restart which is 'exploited' unfairly (e.g. kicking the ball out for a throw-in deep in the opponents' half) or an aggressive confrontation."

In minor changes, players will now be booked for over-celebrating "even if the goal is disallowed." Also, a team which wins the toss can now "choose to take the kick-off or which goal to attack (previously they only had the choice of which goal to attack)."

A goalkeeper must now "have at least part of one foot on/in line with the goal line" on a penalty. A referee can now allow a quick free kick to be taken by an attacking team even if he were about to book the offending player --  this can now be done at the end of the attacking move. And yellow and red cards for members of the coaching staff will now become law after successful trials. 

The final notable change sees substitutes being able to leave the field at the nearest point, rather than the half-way line, in a bid to stop teams time-wasting. 

Though the laws come into force on June 1, they are not expected to be enforced for the Champions League final on that date. 

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