Shoulder or hand?: This is what the rule says about Vinicius’ goal against Almería

Real Madrid won against Almería (3-2) in a clash with a clear role for the VAR, which intervened up to three times and provoked the indignation of the bottom of LaLiga. One of the most controversial plays was a possible goal by Vinicius with his hand. The Brazilian made the score 2-2 and there are several shots that seem to hit him in the arm but the referee went to see him and gave the goal. According to the referee it was clearly a shoulder.

What does the rule say about Vinicius’ goal?

After After several very turbulent seasons with the issue of how handball is sanctioned within the area, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body in charge of determining the rules of football, decided in 2021 to simplify its regulations in relation to this point and end the controversy. The debate about hands like Militao’s has dominated the end of the season, but doubts about the criteria go back to the beginning of the sports campaign. Now the IFAB makes everything much clearer.

This new clarification provides that a player who:

Touches the ball voluntarily with the hand or armfor example, making a movement towards the ball with these parts of the body;

Touch the ball with your hand or arm when your hand or arm is positioned unnaturally and make the body take up more space. A player will be considered to have made his body take up more space in an unnatural manner when the position of his hand or arm is not a consequence of the movement of his body in that specific action or cannot be justified by said movement. By placing his hand or arm in this position, the player risks the ball hitting that part of his body and this constitutes an infraction;

Score a goal in the opponent’s goal (directly with the hand or arm – even if the action occurs accidentally -, including the goalkeeper; or immediately after the ball touches his hand or arm, even accidentally).”

With these changes, the IFAB eliminates the exceptions in the hands such as rebounds and affects the voluntariness or not of the player when penalizing a hand in the middle of the game.

An accidental handball that leads to a teammate scoring a goal or having a scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an infraction.

What does not change is what part of the arm is considered hands or not. It is maintained, therefore, that the lower part of the shoulder is a valid resource, while if the ball is touched with another part of the arm an infringement may be signaled.

Likewise, another clarification was approved for the 2021/22 Laws of the Game, including Law 11 (the Rule 12 definition for hands, according to which the arm ends at the bottom of the armpit, must be used when judging whether a player is in an offside position).

The football watchdogs published a chart determining exactly what was a hand and what was a shoulder. The problem in this case, however, is in the shots that the VAR gave to the referee and that could offer doubts as to whether it was an arm or a shoulder.

Hand violation IFAB

In this sense, the VAR audio is clear. “I recommend an on field review so you can evaluate the non-hand. Give me the reverse right, stop at the point of contact. “Fran, I’ll show you, it hits him in the right shoulder.” “You assess the possible foul in attack,” added the VAR referee. “For me there is no foul in attack and the ball contacts the shoulder. It hits him with the shoulder and it is a valid goal. I’m going to signal a goal, it’s not a foul,” Hernández Maeso assessed after the multiple repetitions he observed on the monitor.