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'The laws are being changed in front of our eyes' - Neville surprised Man Utd not given a penalty at Chelsea after Hudson-Odoi handball

01-Mar-2021, 12:38 am

Callum Hodson-Odoi Mason Greenwood Chelsea vs Man Utd Premier League 2020-21

The decision not to award Manchester United a penalty against Chelseaafter Callum Hudson-Odoi handled in the area prompted a surprised reaction from former Red Devils defender Gary Neville.

After consulting with VAR, however, referee Stuart Attwell determined that the contact was not grounds for a penalty, to the chagrin of the visitors.

Neville said on Sky Sports:"There's no doubt two or three months ago that's a penalty - and there's no doubt the referee would have abided by the referral.

"But the referees are more bold and the handball laws are being changed in front of our eyes as the season goes along.

"I'm in agreement with the referee going to the monitor.But that was the first time I've seen players berating the referee when he was watching the monitor. Both sets of players were shouting at the referee when he was watching it.

"There's no doubt earlier in the season that this would have been a penalty. Hudson-Odoi's panic is the fact that his arm shouldn't be there."

The current regulations around handball deem that any deliberate touch with the hand or arm should be penalised, while accidental contact is also grounds for an infraction if "the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger" or "the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level (unless the player deliberately plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm."

There are several caveats to the law, however, which, if applicable, mean the player has not committed handball.

Cases where a handball occurs in contact directly from the player's own head or body, or those of another player, or if the limb is kept close to the body or used to support the player during a fall without being extended have been deemed non-punishable and should not result in a free kick or, if in the penalty area, penalty being awarded.

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