Handball Rule

How many penalties were given for handball over the festive period?

La Liga continues to lead the way for the amount of penalties given for the ball touching the hand inside the box

12:40pm on Tuesday 5th January 2021
Martin Macdonald

Between 18 December 2020 and 5 January 2021, no less than 50 penalties were awarded across the top four leagues in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and the Bundesliga.

Fourteen were given in England, 16 in Spain, 15 in Italy, and finally five in Germany, with the Bundesliga having significantly less due to their festive break.

Surprisingly, however, none of the penalties awarded in the Premier League were awarded for handball, with referees noticeably less harsh towards this infraction recently compared to previously.

La Liga remains the worst offending top four league for handballs penalised, with 18 out of the 68 awarded so far for a handball foul.

Premier League PENALTIES

2020/21 SO FAR

TeamDate GivenMatchCause of Pen
Liverpool12 Sept 2020Liverpool 4-3 LeedsHandball (Robin Koch)
Crystal Palace19 Sept 2020Man Utd 1-3 PalaceHandball (Victor Lindelof)
Southampton20 Sept 2020Southampton 2-5 TottenhamHandball (Matt Doherty)
Man Utd26 Sept 2020Brighton 2-3 Man UtdHandball (Neap Maupay)
Everton26 Sept 2020Palace 1-2 EvertonHandball (Joel Ward)
Newcastle27 Sept 2020Tottenham 1-1 NewcastleHandball (Eric Dier)
Fulham18 Oct 2020Sheff Utd 1-1 FulhamHandball (Jack Robinson)
Leicester8 Nov 2020Leicester 1-0 WolvesHandball (Max Kilman)
Man City8 Nov 2020Man City 1-1 LiverpoolHandball (Joe Gomez)
Man Utd21 Nov 2020Man Utd 1-0 West BromHandballl (Darnell Furlong)
Brighton7 Dec 2020Brighton 1-2 SouthamptonHandballl (James Ward-Prowse)
Liverpool13 Dec 2020Fulham 1-1 LiverpoolHandballl (Aboubakar Kamara)

Out of the 67 penalties awarded in the Premier League so far this season, 12 have been for handball.


2020/21 SO FAR

TeamDate GivenMatchCause of Pen
Betis20 Sept 2020Betis 2-0 ValladolidHandball (Oscar Plano)
R. Madrid26 Sept 2020Betis 2-3 Real MadridHandball (Marc Bartra)
Levante27 Sept 2020Osasuna 1-3 LevanteHandball (Raul Navas)
Eibar30 Sept 2020Eibar 0-1 ElcheHandball (Pere Milla)
Villarreal30 Sept 2020Villarreal 1-1 HuescaHandball (Pablo Maffeo)
R. Sociedad3 Oct 2020R. Sociedad 3-0 GetafeHandball (Mathias Olivera)
Eibar3 Oct 2020Valladolid 1-2 EibarHandball (Jawad El Yamiq)
R. Madrid24 Oct 2020Barcelona 1-3 Real MadridFoul (Clement Lenglet)
R. Sociedad25 Oct 2020R. Sociedad 4-1 HuescaHandball (Pablo Maffeo)
Atletico31 Oct 2020Osasuna 1-3 AtleticoHandball (Oier Sanjurjo)
Elche6 Nov 2020Elche 1-1 AthleticHandball (Hugo Mallo)
Valencia8 Nov 2020Valencia 4-1 Real MadridHandball (Lucas Vaquez)
Valencia8 Nov 2020Valencia 4-1 Real MadridHandball (Sergio Ramos)
Barcelona8 Nov 2020Barcelona 5-2 BetisHandball (Aissa Mandi)
Real Madrid28 Nov 2020Real Madrid 1-2 AthleticHandball (Nacho)
Sevilla19 Dec 2020Sevilla 1-1 ValladolidHandball (Fede)
Huesca22 Dec 2020Huesca 1-1 LevanteHandball (Ruben Vezo)
Sevilla29 Dec 2020Sevilla 2-0 VillarrealHandball (Juan Foyth)

Out of the 68 penalties awarded in La Liga so far this season, 18 have been for handball.


2020/21 SO FAR

TeamDate GivenMatchCause of Pen
Juventus27 Sept 2020Roma 2-2 JuventusHandball (Lorenzo Pellegrini)
Roma27 Sept 2020Roma 2-2 JuventusHandball (Adrien Rabiot)
Sassuolo3 Oct 2020Sassuolo 4-1 CrotoneHandball (Simy)
Sampdoria24 Oct 2020Atalanta 1-3 SampdoriaHandball (Johan Mojica)
Sassuolo1 Nov 2020Napoli 0-2 SassuoloHandball (Giovanni Di Lorenzo)
Juventus1 Nov 2020Spezia 1-4 JuventusHandball (Paolo Bartolomei)
Lazio1 Nov 2020Torino 3-4 LazioHandball (Nicolas N'Koulou)
Lazio6 Dec 2020Sampdoria 1-2 MilanHandball (Jakub Jankto)
Sassuolo11 Dec 2020Sassuolo 1-0 BeneventoHandball (Alessandro Tuia)
Inter20 Dec 2020Inter 2-1 SpeziaHandball (M'Bala Nzola)
Milan23 Dec 2020Milan 3-2 LazioHandball (Patric)
Napoli3 Jan 2021Cagliari 1-4 NapoliHandball (Fabrizio Caligara)

Out of the 57 penalties awarded in Serie A so far this season, 12 have been for handball.

Bundesliga PENALTIES

2020/21 SO FAR

TeamDate GivenMatchCause of Pen
RB Leipzig3 Oct 2020RB Leipzig 4-0 SchalkeHandball (Matija Nastasic)
Gladbach24 Oct 2020Mainz 2-3 GladbachHandball (Moussa Niakhate)
Leverkusen26 Oct 2020Leverkusen 3-1 A'burgHandball (R. Framberger)
Stuttgart30 Oct 2020Schalke 1-1 StuttgartHandball (Salif Sane)
Werder Bremen6 Nov 2020Bremen 1-1 KolnHandball (Elvis Rexhbecaj)
Hoffenheim8 Nov 2020W'burg 2-1 HoffenheimHandball (Maxence Lacroix)
Wolfsburg12 Dec 2020W'burg 2-1 FrankfurtHandball (Stefan Ilsanker)
Leverkusen13 Dec 2020Leverkusen 4-1Hoffenheim Handball (H.Nordtveit)
Frankfurt15 Dec 2020Frankfurt 3-3 GladbachHandball (Stefan Lainer)
Freiburg02 Jan 2021Hoffenheim 1-3 FreiburgHandball (Melayro Bogarde)

Out of the 52 penalties awarded in the Bundesliga so far this season, 10 have been for handball.

Why is it happening?

Now, players can be penalised for the slightest touch of the ball to the hand, no matter the situation, their body shape, or whether it was intentional.

After seeing his side concede a penalty against Everton to lose 2-1, Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson said what a lot of people were thinking; the handball rule is "nonsense".

"It's completely unacceptable. It's destroying my enjoyment of the game of football," he continued.

"I can't understand how everyone in the game - the Premier League, referees, managers and coaches - have allowed this rule to come into operation.

"I don't want to profit from it or lose from it."

There is certainly a lot more scrutiny on decisions nowadays due to VAR, while the handball rule seems so ridiculous that any decision penalty given for one is also highlighted more than other decisions.

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