Fulham boss Scott Parker: New handball rule should have been in place all season

Fulham manager Scott Parker looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Fulham at Selhurst Park on February 28, 2021 in London, England.

Fulham manager Scott Parker was in disbelief that the new handball rule had not been in place since the start of the season.

Football’s lawmakers announced on Friday that accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goalscoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence from July 1.

That news came the day after Fulham fell victim to the controversial section of the handball law when they were denied a deserved second-half equaliser against Tottenham.

Josh Maja appeared to have levelled for the Cottagers, but the goal was ruled out after VAR replays showed the ball had previously struck the hand of his Fulham team-mate Mario Lemina from a Davinson Sanchez clearance when he was a matter of yards away.

“It’s devastating, I’m not going to lie to you,” Parker said after hearing the news that the rule would be changed.

“We have been on the end of some bad calls this year with VAR, Newcastle away a bad decision, we got a man sent off that got rescinded.

“(Ivan) Cavaleiro penalty against Liverpool, that was a clear penalty. And obviously then this decision now.

“I’m not moaning about the actual decision last night because that was part of the law. That decision needs to take place. But how that rule has not been set in stone at the start of the season is beyond me.

“If your arms are beside your body, and you can’t physically put them anywhere else other than chop them off, it needs to stand really. It’s just common sense, logic. And then to think that you go halfway through the season and then you change the rules.

“I know we have changed a lot of rules this year, it seems like we have, it seems like we are constantly having debates about whether we should change this rule, what about the offside, is that right?

“Or handballs. If the arm is outside the body in the defensive phase, we have got all different phases of handball in terms of an attacking phase, it seems like common sense, and people’s experience of the game and common sense and understanding of what it used to be.

“What it used to be – that is my point really. While we all want the game to progress and evolve and improve, there are are certain elements where you say, let’s just leave it, leave that, let’s not touch that because that’s working, and it’s fine.”

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