There is a new interpretation of the handball law in soccer and the first game at the UEFA Euro 2020 on Friday set the tone that there should be fewer cheap penalties given.
Twice during the first half in Rome, Italy’s players pleaded with UEFA’s hand-picked referee for the prestige game, Danny Makkelie, to award a penalty when the ball struck a Turkey defender on the arm.
Fans in domestic leagues have become used to seeing such handballs rewarded with penalties in the era of review by video assistant referees (VARs), but Makkelie waved away both appeals and Italy’s win meant his decisions were not a key post-match talking point.
Still, UEFA opting to fast-track the clarification change in soccer’s law that otherwise takes effect on July 1 already made an impact.
One key phrase stood out in the clarifications approved in March by the International Football Association Board, soccer’s law-making panel, and briefed to all Euro 2020 players and coaches in the past month.
The panel stated that “not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offense.”
In a pre-tournament briefing, UEFA director of refereeing Roberto Rosetti said the handball law was applied too strictly in some European countries.
“The way the law is rewritten is more according to the spirit of football and to give to the players the freedom to play football,” Rosetti said on June 4.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Football Association said that it had agreed on a compromise with UEFA over its team’s kits that feature patriotic slogans and sparked Russia’s ire, but the governing body for European soccer said that nothing had changed in practice.
“We’ve managed to reach a victorious compromise with UEFA!” association president Andriy Pavelko wrote on Facebook, describing the negotiations as “extremely tough.”
Kiev angered Moscow after the association unveiled Euro 2020 kits that showed the outline of Ukraine including Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Russia criticized a slogan written on the inside of the shirts — “Glory to the Heroes.”
A UEFA spokesperson told reporters that Ukraine had agreed to cover up the slogan with a smaller map of the country.
UEFA initially approved the design, but after Russia formally complained, it ordered the removal of the slogan.
On Friday, Pavelko said that instead of removing the slogan altogether, Ukraine would add another element to the inside of the jersey.
The words “Glory to the Heroes” would be part of a new emblem featured on the shirt, he said.
For Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin, there were no chances left: Either beat the world’s top-ranked men’s doubles badminton team from Indonesia for the first time or see their Olympic hopes dashed in the preliminary round. The world No. 3 Taiwanese duo answered the challenge, edging past Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in their final Group A match 21-18, 15-21, 21-17 to qualify for the final eight knockout round. “We finally made it,” Lee wrote on Facebook after beating the Indonesian duo. However, he said that the competition still had a long way to go. “We’re happy not only because
TWO AND TWO: Lin Chen-hao of Taiwan finished seventh in the women’s U-48kg category, winning two bouts before losses the quarter-finals and a repechage match Naohisa Takato yesterday won Japan’s first gold medal at their home Olympics, beating Taiwan’s Yang Yung-wei in the men’s under-60kg judo final. Yang’s second-place finish is Taiwan’s first medal in Tokyo and the nation’s first-ever medal in an Olympics judo competition. Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi beat Japan’s Funa Tonaki in the women’s under-48kg final less than an hour before Takato made sure that his team would not have a double heartbreak on the opening day of competition in its beloved homegrown martial art. Takato won his final three bouts in sudden-death golden score, but he took the final a bit anticlimactically after Yang committed
Taiwanese badminton player Tai Tzu-ying yesterday tried to coast through her second group match at the Olympic Games, but got a bit of a scare against a Vietnamese ranked 49th in the world before righting the ship and prevailing. World No. 1 Tai defeated Nguyen Thuy Linh 21-16, 21-11 in her second match in Group P, moving her one win away from a spot in the women’s singles quarter-finals. Playing somewhat nonchalantly at the start of the match, Tai could not shake off the consistent Vietnamese, making several unforced errors. Down 16-14 and in danger of letting the first game get away, Tai
CLOSE CALL: In what was almost an upset, Brian Yang kept Chou Tien-chen on his toes for more than an hour, but the world No. 3 managed to hold on for the win Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying yesterday reminded the world why she is No. 1 when she had France’s Qi Xuefei struggling to match up through their 25-minute encounter. Tai, who beat Qi 21-10, 21-13, had a rough start to the Tokyo Olympics, taking longer to fend off two hugely inferior opponents earlier in the Games. The 27-year-old has a history of slipping up at the Olympics, despite performing exceptionally in other competitions. Tai, who became world No. 1 in 2016, has won the All England Open title three times and was a gold medalist at the 2018 Asian Games. “This is the first time I