Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ariel Ortega for River Plate (v Quilmes), 18 March 2007


It's the 18th March in the Clausira title race. As the clash between Quilmes and River Plate meanders towards a 0-0 draw, a right wing cross is played into the Quilmes area. Expecting a challenge from the goalkeeper, Ariel Ortega closes his eyes and launches himself towards the ball. He misses the header but the ball deflects off his hand into the back of the Quilmes net.

Referee Daniel Giminez awards a goal and River win the game 1-0. "I saw the hand of Ortega, but a referee must judge intention and in this case, it was clear that he tried to head the ball and then it accidentally bounced off his hand. If it happens somewhere else on the pitch it's not considered handball, so why should it be in the area?"

This has caused some debate, even within FIFA. Michel Vautrot from their Referee Committee argued "A goal can never be scored with the hand. Intention is not relevant in that case." However, Jose Maria Garcia Aranda, director of FIFAs Department of Referees argued "A referee always decides if the hand has been intentional. And if he considers it was not, the goal is valid."

Intuitively, one's initial reaction is that a goal scored with the hand should be chalked off no matter what. However the notion of intent, and the fact that an unintentional handball in the penalty box by a defender should go unpunished does raise some doubt. What's your view?

(credit to June 2007's "Four Four Two" for the piece.)

23 comments:

el tel said...

My instinct is to err on the side of the defender. My line would be to adopt an inconsistent approach within matches. Thus: in penalty areas, intentionality should only matter when it is the hand-ball of a defensive player (i.e. defender accidentally handles it - 'play on', attacker accidentally handles it - 'free kick to the defending team'). In middle-of-the-park outfield play, intentionality (i.e. only deliberate hand-ball) should always be the whistle-determining factor.

Whilst this may seem convoluted (forgive me, etc etc), my guess is that it's how many referees would act at present (i.e. with discretion - whether official or not).

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