Last updated on December 1st, 2022
You may have heard of the handball rule in football. In the rule, it states that if the ball hits your hand or arm, it is considered as handball.
However, what is actually considered as your arm?
What part of the arm is considered handball in football?
You are considered to have committed a handball offence if the ball hits your hand or your arm. The IFAB defines the arm to be any part below the bottom of your armpit.
As such, the boundaries of your arm have already been clearly defined by the IFAB!
The handball rule defines what is defined as your hand and arm
In Law 12 of the Laws of the Game, you are deemed as handling the ball if you hit either your hand or your arm.
The IFAB also goes on to define what the arm is:
For the purposes of determining handball offences, the upper boundary of the arm is in line with the bottom of the armpit.IFAB
So long as the ball hits any part of your arm that is below your armpit, it will be considered as a handball.
Is hitting your shoulder a handball?
Your shoulder is defined to be above your arm. This is because your armpit is taken to be the upper boundary of your arm by the IFAB. If the ball hits your shoulder, it will not be considered to be a handball offence.
You may think that the shoulder is part of your arm. However, the IFAB defines it to be otherwise!
Can you score with your shoulder in football?
You are able to score a goal with your shoulder, since it is not considered to be a handball offence. A handball offence will only be called when the ball hits your arm, which is defined to be lower than your armpit.
In fact, Mario Balotelli scored a goal with his shoulder in this league match against Norwich City!
This shows that ‘shoulder goals’ are actually allowed in football!
So long as the ball does not touch another part of your arm, it will be considered as a goal.
Is hitting the upper arm considered as handball?
If the ball hits anywhere on your arm which is below your armpit, it will be considered as a handball offence. This is because the armpit is defined to be the upper boundary of your arm.
Can you score with your upper arm?
You cannot score with your upper arm if the ball hits you below your armpit. A handball offence will be committed, and your goal will be disallowed.
The definition of your upper arm may differ from the IFAB. However, the IFAB only chooses to define your arm up till the armpit!
Is elbow a handball?
The elbow is considered to be part of your arm. This is because your elbow is below your armpit, which is the upper boundary of your arm. A handball offence will be called in this situation.
Here is an example of the ball hitting a player on his elbow:
Can you score with your elbow in football?
You are unable to score with your elbow since you are committing a handball offence. This is because the IFAB defines your elbow to be part of your arm.
Is hitting the armpit considered as handball?
The armpit is considered to be the upper boundary of your arm by the IFAB. If the ball hits any area of your arm below the armpit, it will be considered as a handball.
It may be possible that the ball hits your armpit but no handball offence is called. However, this is very hard to determine during the game especially when the game is moving so quickly!
In these scenarios, the video assistant referee (VAR) may be able to make a better decision on whether it is handball or not.
Can you score with your armpit in football?
You are able to score a goal with your armpit in football. This is because your armpit is legally able to play the ball, since it is neither a part of your hands or arms.
If the ball hits your arm or your hand, it will be considered as handball. Since hitting your armpit does not result in a handball, you can legally score a goal with your armpit!
In fact, your armpit may be used as the point of reference for offside, even though the rest of your hand is further ahead. This is because the furthest body part that can legally play the ball will be used when considering if you’re offside!
The IFAB clearly defines what is considered as your hand, and particularly your arm. So long as the ball hits anywhere that is below your armpit, it will be considered as a handball offence!
This means that it is actually possible for you to use your shoulder during a football match!
You can find out whether a goalkeeper can be sent off for a handball offence here.
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