Saturday 18 January 2020

McCarthy gives a red card to FIFA's new rule changes

Moussa Sissoko
Moussa Sissoko

Mick McCarthy admits he's not a fan of changes to the rules of the game which will come into effect once this bout of Euro 2020 qualifiers are over.

It was thought that five rule changes would be in place this week, including a new definition of handball and a change to the way the keeper behaves while facing a penalty, and also a rule where attacking players have to be a metre away from the wall for a free-kick.

The handball rule is under fresh scrutiny given events in Madrid on Saturday night, but McCarthy and the FAI have been informed that the new rules don't kick in until next season, though McCarthy, speaking as an ex-defender, is dubious.

"I think they're trying to sanitise it a bit too much. I didn't think it was a penalty," McCarthy said, looking back to the handball decision, against Moussa Sissoko, which gifted Liverpool that crucial penalty in their Champions League final win over Tottenham.

"It him on the midriff first and then under his armpit. I mean what he was going to do with his arms, put them behind him? That's unnatural. The natural position is more like what he did.

"The second goal conceded by Spurs, I think the penalty decision had a real effect on that."

And the Ireland boss fears that rules on handball will encourage attacking players to strike a ball in the box in the hope that it hits an opponent's hand or arm and lead to a penalty, McCarthy still scarred by a World Cup loss in the Balkans a full 22 years ago.

"I'll go back as far as Macedonia and Jason McAteer getting a penalty given against him and I still don't think it was a penalty ... but I've got over it," he joked.

"He came over it and it hit his arm. It's getting to the point where if it hits your hand or arm it's going to be a penalty.

"But then it'll be a tactic used where players are cute and will chip the ball up at someone's hand, unless they have it behind their back. If they kick it against their hand, it will be a penalty. That will be so nauseating for everyone who concedes.

"They might just kick it up and see what they get. I'd tell them to do it! Of course I would, because they will do it to us.

"I think you should be able to get a rebound off a penalty.

"I don't think it should stop if a keeper saves it.

"If I make a tackle and it rolls to someone else, it's not going to stop is it? If I stop that player with a great 50-50 tackle but it nicks off me, rolls to the next player, and he puts it in the net, it's a goal.

"That's not right. It's up to player to be on the front foot and go get the rebound, and on the defenders to be on the front foot. I'm not having that.

"We'll see when they come in," the Ireland boss added.

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