Tuesday July 7 2020
Increase in handballs since VAR

The penalties awarded for handballs have almost doubled in Serie A since introducing VAR, helping Italy set a new record, whilst other Leagues have cut down on their total tally of spot kicks.

This year we have already seen 152 penalties given in the top tier of Italian football and 46 (30.26 per cent) of them have been given for handball.

It matches last years average of 30.33 per cent and just beats the decisions made in 2017-18, the first year of VAR in Italy, when 24.6 per cent were awarded for handball.

But even the 2017-18 season provided a significant increase in handballs leading to penalties. Calcio e Finanza points out that the seasons prior to the introduction of video refereeing, the number of handballs ending in penalties never exceeded 18 per cent despite the regulation, Article 12, not changing.

Italy are, as mentioned, concluding their third year with video assistance as we speak and La Liga followed only a year after.

The Spanish League has seen an increase from 130 penalties last year, to 137 in 2019-20, while the three other top European Leagues, England, Germany and France, have seemed to hold a stricter line.

Germany have gone from 91 to 73, as the English Premier League plummet from 103 attempts from 12 yards to a mere 77.

Needless to say, France had their competition cancelled when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, so their significantly low number would therefore be void, as Ligue 1 has gone from 139 to 89 in their second year with VAR.

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