Category: In a nutshell

Thoughts about the handball

The pure facts about the handball can be found here. (First comes the unfair game, then the handball).

The question of what and why in handball is actually very philosophical.

I have still not managed to write it down comprehensively, but also concisely and understandably. Even if I only outline it now, it will be long. Sorry for that.

First: Discussions about the handball are not new, there are more and less of them.

The focus also changes again and again. It’s the same with the offside, by the way. On the one hand, the offside and handball have hardly been changed significantly. The small changes and clarifications reflect a kind of zeitgeist. Said focus of the discussions.

In the very beginning (1860s), there was the question of running with the ball. Football was more and more divided into (association) football and rugby. This took a few years, because although running was banned in the FA Rules in 1863, the Fair Catch remained permitted until 1871.

In the 1930s, a completely new term came up in some countries as Germany and the Netherlands: The Schutzhand / beschermen. And the discussions flared up for several years. Permitted because protective reflex? Not allowed because you could also turn away? Permitted from a certain proximity, because then short distance?

These questions were quickly clarified (the protective handball was never allowed), but it still remains a myth today in some countries.

And then there’s the thing with the intention: Since 1995 the handball doesn’t have to be intentional anymore, it only has to be deliberate. Is there a purpose? Or carelessness? Then the handball is deliberate.

As I said, the handball has always been strongly discussed and currently more than before many years. So it seems that there was not so much discussion in the past. Depending on when you watch football. Actually it was just the sole of a curve.

Only handball which is …. committed, is forbidden.

  • 1897: “wilfully”
  • 1898-1995: „intentionally“
  • since 1995: „deliberately“

Since 2014, attempts have been made to better formulate the handball law in order to clarify more clearly the lines between what is permitted and what is an offence.


Football statistics 1932

Football statistics-1932

Here is a wonderful Dutch data statistic from 1932, which Jurryt van de Vooren has published in his blog

Finally, in 1932 a remarkable visualization was made of DHC against GSV, part of which here.

Soccer statistics seem to have started in the 1930s, even if only occasionally. By the way, Central Europe won 3-1, despite a goal by Bakhuys. But you could already have seen that in the statistics of that day.

he writes in this article (in Dutch) and gives further examples.

Why laws are not always fair

A short reminder.

Law ≠ Justice.

A law is standardised and therefore objective, justice is a moral value and therefore subjective.

Interpretations should make law more fair. – Keyword “spirit of the game”. – But they also make the rules “subjective”. Keyword “grey area”.

Meaning that for a person this is fair, or at least the fairest possibility within the limitations of the rules – and with regard to the game. So it can not only differ from referee to referee.

After all, every person does the same in everyday life.

Goal referees in Spain and elsewhere in the world

Yesterday I had a short discussion on Twitter with Ben van Maaren and Javier Bravo about goal referees.

I knew until now that they were used in the sport association of workers in Germany in the 1920s. And that the minute from AGM 1893 by The IFAB mentioned them. But I only suspected that these are not the only two mentions. Goals are too important for football – both economically and psychologically.

But the fact that goal referees were appointed in Spain for probably more than 25 years, and that they were in the top league, also surprised me.

In the minute of The IFAB there is no criticism to the RFEF, the Spanish Football Federation. The association was a founding member of FIFA and almost permanently its member.

In the article on football and technology, I have therefore added a passage on goal referees.

But it also affected competitive matches played by members of FIFA. In the top Spanish league, goal referees (“juez de gol”) were appointed from 1914 at the latest. This was not a brief experiment, although the Spanish Football Association was a member of FIFA from the very beginning (with one brief exception). Goal referees existed in Spain until 1939. Ein spanischer Bericht verwendete eins der damaligen Fotos für seinen Bericht über Michel Platins Forderung nach Torrichtern “UEFA president Michel Platini wants to get him back to oversee what happens in the areas. The goal judge returns.” is the English translation of the title of this Spanish article. Further articles about goal judges in Spain are “El ‘test del gol’, peor hoy que hace cien años” and “La UEFA ensaya con dos jueces de gol“.

The article can be found here.