Strangely, the term "Hand Ball" is commonly used, but is not defined in the official FIFA rules. It is a "direct kick foul" if a player (other than the goalkeeper inside his own penalty area) deliberately handles the ball (meaning to deliberately touch the ball with any part of the arm from the finger tips to the top of the shoulder). If the player handles it for the purpose of preventing an opponent from gaining possession, it is a "cautionable offense" and a yellow card should be given. If a player deliberately handles the ball to deny an obvious goal scoring opportunity (e.g., to prevent a breakaway or to deliberately stop a shot), a red card should be given and the player "sent off". However, a hand ball foul should not be called if: (1) a player is instinctively trying to protect himself from injury or (2) the player did not deliberately touch the ball but the ball hit his arm & he did not move the arm toward the ball (however, if the player's arms were in an unnatural position such as above his shoulders or sticking out to the sides, then he should be called for a handball). (See "Fouls").
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