ACCORDING to all reports, Reading’s victory over Sunderland was made easier by a rash moment by the Black Cats player, Callum McManaman.

He handled a cross from teammate Adam Mathews, knocking the ball into the Reading goal. It led to a yellow card followed by a red as he had already been booked earlier in the game for a foul.

I find that a lot of people get confused, as to when a yellow card should be shown for handball.

I’ve heard commentators cry out 'that was handball, it should be a yellow card’. Trainee refs often say they would give a yellow card for handball if it is intentional. But, of course, handball is not an offence unless it is intentional. It doesn’t mean it warrants a card.

There are only three occasions when a yellow card should be shown for deliberate handball. One of these was what happened to McManaman.

Trying to score a goal with the hand, whether successful or not, is a cautionable offence. The idea is to try and stop players doing it.

The next reason is if an outfield player handles the ball to try and prevent the ball going into their goal, but fails and it goes in anyway.

If the player had been successful in preventing a goal being scored with his hand, it would be a straight sending off and a red card.

That comes under the Law of denying a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity which says, the player is sent off, wherever the offence occurs.

The third reason for a yellow card for handball, would be when by doing so, the player stops or interferes with a promising attack.

A little more subjective for the referee, as he has to consider where the offence occurs and what would have happened if the handball hadn’t taken place.

This is perhaps where some people get confused, because they see a yellow card issued for that reason, they think it applies to all handballs.