The FA rule that explains why Kai Havertz’s goal was disallowed in Arsenal loss

Arsenal were handed their second Premier League defeat of the season in a 1-0 loss against Aston Villa, but they thought they had snatched a late equaliser.

Kai Havertz thought he had come to the rescue again as he bundled the ball into the back of the net, but the referee then blew the whistle for handball, and VAR did not deem it to be a clear and obvious error to overturn the decision.

Some Arsenal fans may be up in arms over the decision, with Arsenal having also lost points as a result of referee decisions against Newcastle, but the official rulebook explains why the goal was not allowed to stand.

The FA rule on handball is unfortunate for Kai Havertz

The ball did make contact with Havertz’s hand before he poked it home, and as per the FA’s rules, this is a handball offence if made directly before a goal, even if accidental.

“It is an offence if a player scores in the opponents’ goal: directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper,” or “immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental,” it is stated as part of law 12 of the IFAB laws of the game for this season.

Given that the ball bounced up onto the 24-year-old’s arm before he scored, it was therefore a handball offence. However, if Eddie Nketiah, who was just behind Havertz, had somehow managed to score after it, the goal may have stood.

Whilst there has been a lot of scrutiny over VAR and refereeing decisions being made in Arsenal games, this is not a decision which can be heavily argued against.

Mikel Arteta was in a much quieter mood than he was after Arsenal’s other league defeat, which saw the Spaniard launch an explosive rant about the decisions given against his side.

Arsenal were perhaps unlucky to lose in a game in which they were dominant, but they failed to take their chances to cancel out John McGinn’s early opener.

Should this goal have stood, it would have been yet another late goal after Tuesday’s dramatic victory at Luton, but it was not to be for Havertz, and despite it arguably being bad luck that the ball collided with his hand, and the attacker gaining no advantage, the rules were applied correctly in this case.

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