Ball to handThis week’s weekly football post explains the phrase ball to hand.

  • Find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below.
  • You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

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Ball to hand

This week’s English for football phrase is ‘ball to hand’.  In football only the goalkeeper is allowed to use his/her hands and so if an outfield player touches the ball with his/her hand then the referee may award a free kick or even a penalty. But handball is a very controversial area of football – a grey area – where things such as deliberate or accidental handball are important factors for referees when making decisions. Another ‘grey’ area is the phrase ‘ball to hand‘ which suggests that a player cannot get out of the way of the ball; it’s not deliberate handball but accidental which means that some referees will not award a free kick or penalty when this happens. Ball to hand.

  • Example: Liverpool thought they should have had at least one penalty in their Europa League Cup final defeat to Sevilla but the referee said no as he interpreted it as ‘ball to hand‘.
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