By Victor Okoye
Abuja, Sept. 29, 2020 Godwin Bamigboye, Chairman of FCT Chapter of Nigeria Football Coaches Association (NFCA), on Tuesday described the new rule on handball in football as very unfair, saying it should be reviewed.
“It’s an absolute disgrace. An absolute joke,” Bamigboye said of the rule now being implemented in the new English Premier League (EPL) season.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that controversy emerged after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review on Sunday led referee Peter Bankes to take a second look at an incident.
The incident had involved Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier and Newcastle United’s Andy Carroll, with the decision leading to a penalty kick for the visitors’ stoppage time equaliser.
Carroll and Dier had challenged for a ball and the former’s header brushed the arm of the Spurs’ defender who had his back to the ball as he jumped with Carroll.
The incident followed similar match-deciding handball decisions on Saturday during Manchester United’s win at Brighton and Everton’s victory at Crystal Palace.
The decisions were a result of the EPL adopting the same interpretation of the handball law as has been in operation in other countries for two years.
“Eric Dier jumped for the ball, and had no control of where his arms were going to be.
“It was a header half a yard away from him, and it hit him on the back of his arm. He had no idea what was going on. This is a joke.
“I also saw it last weekend with the Manchester United versus Brighton game, as well as the week before with the Leeds United game at Anfield… It’s an absolute disgrace,’’ Bamigboye said.
He however said he was absolutely certain that the rule was going to change soon, because it was not right and the game’s stakeholders were unhappy with it.
“It’s going to change pretty soon, in the sense of the interpretation of the rule. There’s no way players, managers, coaches are going to accept that. It is not right,” Bamigboye added.
Dennis Nya, a defender with Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubside Akwa United, was also with the same views as those of Bamigboye.
He said the rule was simply unfair to players and should be reviewed.
“I’ve been there as a defender. You have to have your arms (out by your side), because you have to be balanced.
“Your arms have to be extended away from your body. They have to be. It’s absolutely impossible (to have something different),’’ Nya said.
He however pointed out that the interpretation of the rule by the English referees might have been wrong, and not the rule itself.
“I actually don’t think they are even interpreting the rule right. If you read it (the law), I don’t think it’s that stringent that they have to apply it in that way.
“For me, this has to change. There have been numerous occasions in the last 10 to 15 years where little things have come in and they’ve been thrown away quite quickly, and I think this one will be reviewed soon too,” the player said.