Demystifying the Handball Rule in Soccer: Insights and Education at Charlotte Rise Youth Soccer Club



Demystifying the Handball Rule in Soccer: Insights and Education at Charlotte Rise Youth Soccer Club

The soccer handball rule remains one of the most complex and debated aspects. At Charlotte Rise Youth Soccer Club, we aim to elucidate this soccer handball rule for our players, coaches, and the wider community to enhance understanding and appreciation of the game.

What is the Handball Rule?

The handball rule is designed to prevent players from gaining an unfair advantage by using their arms or hands to manipulate the ball’s trajectory. A soccer handball penalty can lead to a free-kick or a penalty against the offending team, and depending on the nature of the offense, disciplinary actions such as yellow or red cards may be issued.

Key Aspects of the Handball Rule

Arm Definition

The boundary between the arm and the shoulder is delineated at the bottom of the armpit. This definition is crucial as the arm is considered part of the handball rule, whereas the shoulder is not.

Deliberation vs. Accident

A critical component of the rule is intent. Deliberate movement of the hand or arm towards the ball is clearly penalized. However, not all contacts are deemed offenses, especially if they are accidental and do not result in an unnatural enlargement of the body silhouette.

Body Silhouette and Player Action

If a player’s silhouette is considered “unnaturally big” at the point of contact—where their hand/arm position is not justifiable by their body movement—a soccer handball’s natural position may be called. Player intent and action at the time are assessed to determine the naturalness of the body position.

Implementations and Variances

Premier League

Close attention is paid to the proximity of the player to the ball, which influences the referee’s decision on whether the soccer handball in the box was avoidable or deliberate.

UEFA Guidelines

Recent updates suggest that soccer unintentional handball where the ball first contacts another part of the body may not be penalized unless they directly lead to a goal or create an immediate goal-scoring opportunity.

Handling Pressure

Juggling aids players in maintaining composure when handling the ball in challenging situations.

Recent Controversies and Interpretations

A notable instance was a match officiated by referee Szymon Marciniak, where a player named Livramento was involved in a VAR-reviewed handball incident. The initial on-field decision—which did not penalize Livramento due to the lack of deliberate contact and natural body position—was contentious but highlighted the subjective nature of soccer handball rule, direct or indirect rulings.

The Importance of Understanding for Parents and Spectators

For parents and spectators, comprehending the handball rule is vital for several reasons:

Enhanced Viewing Experience

Understanding this rule allows spectators to appreciate the complexities and nuances of game decisions.

Supporting Fair Play

Knowledgeable parents and fans are better equipped to support fair play and respect referees’ challenging decisions.

Educational Role

Parents who understand the rules can better educate their children about the intricacies of the game, promoting a deeper respect and appreciation for soccer.


At Charlotte Rise Youth Soccer Club, educating our community about soccer rules like handball is as essential as physical training. This understanding helps players navigate the game more effectively, respect the decisions on the field, and appreciate the sport’s depth. We encourage continuous education to ensure our players and their supporters are well-informed and prepared for the dynamic nature of soccer, fostering a community that is knowledgeable, respectful, and passionate about the game.


What is a handball violation in soccer?

A handball violation happens when a player uses their hand or arm to touch the ball to gain an unfair advantage. It’s not always on purpose, but if it changes how the game flows, it’s usually called a foul.

Is handball a red card in soccer?

Handball can lead to a red card if it’s done on purpose to stop a clear goal-scoring opportunity, like blocking a shot on an empty goal with a hand.

What is the Offense of handball in soccer?

The offense of handball in soccer occurs when a player deliberately moves their hand or arm toward the ball. This act is penalized because it interferes with fair play.

Does handball give a penalty?

Yes, a handball can result in a penalty kick if it occurs within the offender’s penalty area and is deemed deliberate by the referee.

Is shoulder handball in soccer?

No, the shoulder is not considered part of the hand or arm in soccer rules. So, touching the ball with the shoulder is not a handball.

Did you find this useful?