THAT old favourite, ‘handball’, has been in the news recently – starting perhaps with the disclosure Premier League referees had been instructed not to allow goals if the ball should accidentally go into the goal off the attacker’s hand or arm.

The idea of the Laws of the Game being written by the International FA Board, is that they should be adhered to, wherever the game is played.

For competitions or even National FAs, to alter these laws to suit their own levels of acceptability, destroys the policy.

The fact is the IFAB has been looking at the whole subject of handball for ages and now they have completely rewritten what and what doesn’t constitute a handball offence.

Some are simply putting into writing what most of us have always believed, while others are revolutionary.

At present the Laws say ‘a direct free kick is awarded if a player handles the ball deliberately (except for goalkeepers in their own penalty area)'.

This it defines as ‘the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)’. and goes on to say it should take into consideration, the distance between the ball (unexpected ball).

It also says the position of the hand does not necessarily mean there has been an offence.

A classic example of the unexpected ball occurred in Cardiff City’s game with Burnley which has brought Neil Warnock, into trouble with the FA.

The defender went to head the ball away, but it only rebounded on to his own hand. Not handball.

Also in the news were a couple of instances where VAR have been involved in giving the wrong advice, which should at least be prevented with the future changes. This is where players have gone down and the ball has hit their hand put out to support themselves when falling.

One referee took the VAR’s advice, but in the other rejected it when he viewed the incident on the monitor.

The rewritten handball laws do not come into force until June.