Soccer

In Striving to Achieve Consistency, Premier League Nets a Handball Headache

In Striving to Achieve Consistency, Premier League Nets a Handball Headache

It turns out that for years football has been haunted by a secret scourge. We didn’t talk about it. We pretended it wasn’t happening. We turned a blind eye. We let it fester and chew away at the very fabric of the game. At every level, from the Premier League to the public parks, it was there, this unseen, unspoken evil. All over England, footballers were handling the ball. 

It’s just as well, then, that football finally has its Joe McCarthy, its Matthew Hopkins, to root out the toxin. Former referee David Elleray, a former schoolmaster at Harrow, has since 2016 been the technical director of International Football Association Board (IFAB), the eight-man body comprising an Englishman, a Scotsman, a Welshman, a Northern Irishman and four FIFA delegates representing the rest of the world that controls the Laws of the Game (when it was constituted in its present form in 1913, the presence of the four non-Brits was seen as remarkably outward-looking cosmopolitanism). In that time, he has made 178 amendments to 16 of football’s 17 laws. 

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