According to IFAB's recent changes to the rules:
It is usually an offence if a player:
- touches the ball with their hand/arm when:
- the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger
- the hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level (unless the player deliberately plays the ball which then touches their hand/arm)
If I interpret the rules correctly, this sequence of events usually constitute a handball offence:
- Player A's arm is above the shoulder, with his back facing the ball.
- Player B (could be from either team) plays the ball.
- The ball travels and touches player A's arm.
It does not matter why Player A's arm was raised above his shoulder. Perhaps, he was sitting on the floor after a tackle left him injured, and he had an arm raised towards his team bench signalling for help.
It also does not matter why Player B played the ball towards Player A's arm.
It is a handball since this condition met: ball touches a player's hand/arm when it is above their shoulder. And he did not deliberately play the ball prior to it touching his arm.
Strictly speaking, As long as the ref has not stopped the game, a handball offence should usually be called in the above sequence.
This is where it gets a little weird:
- Player A's arm is above the shoulder, with the ball at his feet.
- Player A plays the ball deliberately into the air (e.g. he lobs the ball up).
- The ball travels vertically up and it touches his arm.
This will NOT be a handball since the clause in parentheses explicitly excludes the scenario where the player deliberately played the ball prior to the ball touching his hand/arm.
Perhaps, the player did not mean to deliberate handle the ball. Maybe he was trying to lob the ball to a team mate, but poor technique or the wind carried the ball vertically towards his unusual raised arm.
I understand that in an actual game, it is highly unlikely that a player will execute this sequence of events. But why is it allowed?
I don't understand why the rules were worded this way. It seems to be allowing a very unusual special case of a player's arm/hand touching the ball, while penalising quite accidental cases.
I think it would have been fine (albeit a little rigid) if the rule makers just left out the part in parentheses. So why did they add this confusing part? What is the motivation behind this special exclusion? What are the examples?
Link to the relevant section of the Laws of the Game: http://theifab.com/laws/chapter/32/section/92/