27/12/2023 26comments  |  Jump to last

Sean Dyche has once again been moved to express his frustration at the current laws of the game and those officials charged with interpreting them after Amadou Onana was harshly adjudged to the handled the ball illegally in the area during this evening's 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

The Belgian midfielder instinctively raised his arm to protect his face at point-blank range from Manuel Akanji's attempt on goal and referee John Brooks awarded a 61st-mimute penalty on the advice of his assistant Lee Betts.

The decision gave Julian Alvarez the chance to put City 2-1 ahead and Dyche, who cut a visibly incredulous figure on the touchline, was aggrieved by a number of Brooks' decisions on the night and he didn't mince his words during his post-match press conference on the enigmatic topic of handball in modern football.

"We can debate the penalty all day," Dyche said. "It has been by managers on Zoom calls to say it's a farce but that's the way it goes.

"That's completely natural. He's not putting his arm up to save it, he's literally jumping in to try to block the ball. How that is given as a penalty is bizarre in my world, but I must be from a different planet. 

'Tonight the linesman gives that and he's 18 yards away so I don't know who is giving what any more Who knows? All the managers are debating it.

"Someone needs to stand up at some point and realise that can't be a penalty because he's just throwing himself in front of it to try to block the ball. That's it."

Ex-Everton boss, Roberto Martinez, and former Premier League referee, Mark Clattenburg, agreed that the laws around handball need to be reviewed.

"For me, it is not a penalty at all," Martinez said. "For me, football people know that it is not a penalty. It's something that needs to be reviewed. But the law is something that doesn't match the game."

Speaking on Amazon Prime, Clattenberg said: "It changed the game. It was a big decision. When you block a shot on goal with an outstretched arm – even though he's trying to block the ball because it's a shot on goal –  this is where referees will always look to penalise as a penalty. 

"Do I agree with it? I don't, but we've been discussing hand ball for many, many years and we're still no further forward of actually improving it. One week it's given, one week it's not. Is it deliberate? Is it not? 

"Every week we're debating it and the referees are just trying to apply the criteria – the laws of the game. If the referee didn't give that penalty, he would be criticised. 

"The law needs changing and it needs the coaches, the players, the referees to get round [a table] and try find a way to understand handball."


Reader Comments (26)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer ()

Phillip Warrington
1 Posted 28/12/2023 at 01:51:11
The one thing that I realized today, although we blame them a lot and at times rightly so.

But to be playing week after week and know every 50/50 is going to go against you must be hard to take.

Joseph Terrence
2 Posted 28/12/2023 at 03:09:00
If the teams were reversed, I'd want that to be a penalty for us and I think it was a fair decision.

The frustration from my end is that if the teams were indeed reversed then there is 0% chance it would be given, and that is the problem.

Kevin Palmer
3 Posted 28/12/2023 at 04:01:43
As a defender in adult 7 v 7 (I'm too crap to play anywhere else) I hate those handball calls. Nothing 'unnatural' zero intent, no time to react.

I preferred the old interpretation of the law.

Richard Lyons
4 Posted 28/12/2023 at 08:33:50
I wonder if anyone has ever done an in-depth analysis of all contentious refereeing decisions over, say, a whole season, with the aim of gauging whether or not certain teams are getting an unfair advantage.

Or would the survey itself be fixed??

Jerome Shields
5 Posted 28/12/2023 at 08:41:36
Yes, it wasn't, a penalty. But you can't beat the referee. It was obvious that Man City were going to come out and pressurise in the second half. Everton became too deep in their defending. They were that deep that space at the edge of the penalty area opened up, with unmarked City players occupying it.

With so many Everton players occupying the penalty area so deep, you were always going to get a hand in the way, an unsighted goalkeeper and errors. That is what you did get.

Throughout the game in midfield pass completion rate was poor. At one stage it stood at 77 to 232 in favour of City. You cannot surround the ball at that rate and midfielders defend the 6-yard box.

The solution is to get the play further up the pitch and keep it there.

Ian Riley
6 Posted 28/12/2023 at 09:54:09
May have been a game to rest some players. Quality came through.

Yes! It was a penalty. The Premier League is an entertainment business. Makes the title race more interesting now.

Steve Dowdeswell
7 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:16:13
The problem I have with the decision is that it is one that would only go in 6-7 teams favour.
Barry Cowling
8 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:39:51
No way it should be a penalty. I know they get given but I wouldn't expect us to have been given it. I know there is a couple of comments saying it was, but how?

If it didn't hit his arm, it would have hit him full in the face, and from a distance of about 2 feet, with no time to react.

So how would you feel if it hit him full in the face, broke his nose, and he's carried off on a stretcher with concussion, and possibly swallowing his tongue?

Maybe you prefer players to have no arms? – it's not like we can take them off before a game.

Rant over.

Jim Bennings
9 Posted 28/12/2023 at 10:58:59
I have to disagree with Sean here.

I think it was a penalty. I'd want a penalty if it was down the other end of the pitch; whether we'd get it or not doesn't mean that it's not a penalty.

The likelihood is Man City would still have won regardless, we were leggy in the second half and the changes didn't really bring much new impetus.

Hopefully they can be fresh and bang at it on Saturday because that will be another tricky game. Let's be honest, we don't do well against Wolves and they've had some good results of late.

Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 28/12/2023 at 12:50:36
Go full-blooded and you might get a block on the ball, or go half-hearted and let the shot go straight past you. What they are doing to football is so very frustrating.

Like Tarkowski's great full-blooded tackle on Alvarez, some people hate it, but to me it should always be a very natural part of the game because he was playing to his strengths when he won that ball and football should always be about playing to your strengths.

Sam Callister
11 Posted 28/12/2023 at 14:09:56
Horrible time of the season this, certainly given the points deduction, without it I would put this behind me and look to the Wolves match.

A couple of bad results and we're back in it, although Dyche and the team are giving us something to be proud of again. Real concerns are lack of depth, Doucouré out, Calvert-Lewin missing chances, Beto is industrious but not clinical.

Gomes looked out of it from the off. Doesn't seem to have the mobility to be the furthest forward behind the striker. Hopefully as he gets fitter again, maybe?

If he's going to rotate, I think he needs to revisit the Beto - Gomes partnership. Keep going Blues.

Kevin Palmer
12 Posted 28/12/2023 at 14:44:24
Jim Bennings [9]

I think the problem is, we just don't know anymore!
There isn't a consistent standard; or, if there is, it isn't consistently applied.

Going back 5 (or 50) years ago, if there was no "intent", so it isn't given as a penalty. Now? I have no idea!

The world seems to agree that the one given against Newcastle at PSG shouldn't have been.

Stephen Vincent
13 Posted 28/12/2023 at 14:45:52
Completely agree with Jim and Tony. The frustration is that, under the current rules, it was a penalty but, if that is the case, then surely the Odegaard basketball dribble at Mordor is as well and it is the inconsistency that pisses me off.

Agree with Tony as well that the Tarkowski tackle was brilliant but I wouldn't be surprised if, on a different day with a different ref, it would be a free kick and a yellow card. It is the inconsistency.

I am really starting to hate football, I spend £1,000s following my club yet it becomes irrelevant because the results are taken out of the normal flow of the game by faceless bureaucrats who want to completely sanitise the game for the benefit of advertisers.

The Premier League talk about 'stakeholders' yet they fail to recognise that the biggest stakeholders – the ones without whom the game would not exist – don't want the game interfered with to the n-th degree.

Finally, just one question: Amadou Onana… why?

Pete Clarke
14 Posted 28/12/2023 at 15:41:26
I have watched the handball closely a few times now and it could never be deemed intentional because Onana had already raised his arms up before the ball was struck so he couldn't have known where it would go anyway. The ball would almost certainly hit Onana's face or failing that have gone way over the bar.

Intent is not the issue here though because that rationale has long gone out of the window. This is pure ineptitude by the officials who seem to decide which team they like or dislike most.

I reffed a few games for my son's team a couple of years ago and I would tell all of the kids not to claim for handball or fouls as I wouldn't give them. They got the message and played a fair game.

If you look at the incident again, you will see almost every City player throw their hands in the air and then get onto the ref about it. This is piss poor sportsmanship and borderline cheating which I hate and Pep should be made to speak about it.

Dyche has had his say.
Jay Harris
15 Posted 28/12/2023 at 15:52:03
How anyone can deem that a penalty is beyond me.

The lad was a yard away and the ball was hit ferociously so he wouldn't have had time to adjust his body in any way and for me it was a natural position as he threw himself at the the impending shot.

It was a turning point in the game because it deflated the crowd and the players.

Let's see if one similar is given against the favoured few anytime soon.

Danny O’Neill
16 Posted 28/12/2023 at 15:55:21
'Star struck' as I like to say, Pete.

Gerrard convincing the Ref to send Hibbert off springs to mind.

Mark Boullé
17 Posted 28/12/2023 at 15:58:20
I desperately don't want to believe there's a conspiracy - there isn't among referees - but at a higher, organisational PL level.

I also didn't want to believe a British Government would try to force vaccine papers on its own citizens, yet they did that for a while. So-called conspiracy theories become facts a lot these days...

Anyway, if the endless, staggeringly bad decisions, not only against Everton but frequently affecting us, really are just down to refereeing ineptitude and the psychology of reffing the big sides, then how on earth do you explain total anomalies like Bournemouth not having had a penalty in 67 games (until their last match) or Everton going 19 Premier league matches and counting without being awarded a single one this season?

Those cannot be mere statistical outliers.

Barry Rathbone
18 Posted 28/12/2023 at 16:54:48
This is one of those "don't look now, we're talking bollocks" themes always popular after an unequivocal stuffing.

If we win, not a peep gets said; if a City player does the same in his penalty area, it's a stonewall penalty. Slightly ludicrous really.

Andy Finigan
19 Posted 28/12/2023 at 17:34:30
Barry 18,

If we can't vent on here, what's the point of the site?

By the way, the very similar incedent at one of the games last week was looked at and deemed no penalty.

Rob Jones
20 Posted 28/12/2023 at 17:44:38
Phillip (1), I get what you mean.

Worse yet, one of our players will have to do a post-match interview and know that he'll get punished if he calls out the blatantly poor refereeing.

Simon Harrison
21 Posted 28/12/2023 at 17:48:12
Pete [14] That was a well argued point with some rationality to boot!

If you could bear to watch the replay again, Brooks initially signalled a corner, before he changed his mind, I thought it was before Foden yelled directly in his face, which surely helped him change his mind, despite being told that a linesman roughly 23-25 yards away signalled a penalty, whilst Brooks was about 10'ish yards away with a clear line of sight, and gave a corner.

Last point, why didn't the VAR actually review it? Oh, I forgot, City have one of those badges that means you don't double check anything given for them...

It makes a mockery of the integrity of the sport.

If that was a City player doing what Onana did, and a penalty was given, at the very least it would have been reviewed...

Simon Harrison
22 Posted 28/12/2023 at 17:53:34
I also got very confused when Michael Owen said, "It wasn't a penalty, but by the Laws of the game, it was a penalty." I'm sorry...? Is this a case of the Law is an ass?

What could be more simple, that if a player moves his hand towards the ball, or has his arms outstretched, preventing the ball getting past him, it is a penalty. Otherwise, it is accidental.

Lastly, leave it to the discretion of the onfield officials, and no super-slo-mo, close up, freeze frame shots from a video.

Quite easy really, and wasn't that how it was reffed for, oh I don't know, 50-60 years?

Brian Denton
23 Posted 28/12/2023 at 19:52:40
Barry (18):

Possibly one of the most self-righteous comments I've seen on ToffeeWeb. TW is a Fanboard, viewed and written by fans of one particular club. It doesn't aim to present a perfectly-balanced view.

Perhaps Fanboards are not for you?

Gary Sedgwick
24 Posted 29/12/2023 at 01:37:28

"Throughout the game in midfield pass completion rate was poor. At one stage it stood at 77 to 232 in favour of City."

That may be true but how many of those 232 were tippy, tappy type passes while the 77 were more effective?

Just saying as in other games Everton were always lower in pass completion but came out victorious due to the fact of more effective passes.

Jerome Shields
25 Posted 29/12/2023 at 06:24:00
Gary #24

More detail:

Passing Accuracy (%)

Gomes 54.5,
Onana 73.7,
Garner 76.0,
Keane 76.9

You can see who helped their figures.

Surrendering midfield and playing deep particularly in the first quarter of the second half increased the trend.

I don't think I need figures to compare with previous games. Dyche would have had Man City's figures.

Lloyd Brodrick
26 Posted 30/12/2023 at 12:01:26
I don't think the Amazon Prime pundits were very clear with regard to the handball rules and the ex-ref view was incorrect. Onana did not make his body bigger by use of his arm or arms, his arm remained within the profile of his trunk.

However the rule does not allow for intentional or not intentional – nor does it allow the ref to use logic in that, if you remove the arm, the shot was still hit at the player not the goal and the outcome is the same. A deflection off his chest into his face and a corner.

Proximity and reaction time is also disregarded by the current rule. So if a ball hits a hand or arm (no supporting) the player runs the risk of being penalised.

There is leeway; otherwise, any players protecting their groin in a wall with their hand could be penalised…literally) ha, if the free kick strikes their midriff.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

How to get rid of these ads and support TW

© ToffeeWeb