PSG vs Newcastle: Mbappe’s Penalty Shows Difference in UEFA’s Handball Rules to EPL’s

PSG vs Newcastle: Mbappe’s Penalty Shows Difference in UEFA’s Handball Rules to EPL’s

Martin Moses
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
UEFA Champions League logo
Kylian Mbappé logo
Paris Saint Germain (PSG) logoFFrance logo
  • Newcastle United lost out on a lead after Kylian Mbappe scored a late penalty
  • Tino Livramento was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area after a VAR review
  • We take a look at the difference between UEFA's handball rules to the Premier League's

"I feel flat!"

This was Eddie Howe's instant reaction as he gave his post-match reactions following his side's one-all draw with Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on November 28.

Despite having a thin squad and playing on hostile ground, Newcastle United thought they had managed to keep the Parisians at bay and were on course to complete a double over them.

Tino LIvramento, Ousmane Dembele, PSG vs Newcastle United, Kylian Mbappe, Eddie Howe
Tino Livramento handles the ball resulting in a penalty during Newcastle United's Champions League clash against Paris Saint-Germain. Photo by Marc Atkins.
Source: Getty Images

However, deep in stoppage time, referee Szymon Marciniak, who officiated the 2022 World Cup final, was asked to review a potential handball incident.

Tino Livramento handball offence

The ball had ricocheted off Tino Livramento's chest and hit his hand from an Ousmane Dembele attempted pass. PSG players immediately swarmed around the referee and after the on-field review, Marciniak ceded ground and awarded the spot-kick.

Kylian Mbappe rarely misses those. Delight in Paris. Pain in Tyneside.

Head coach Howe and many pundits were furious that such a decision was given. Replays showed that the ball bounced off a part of Livramento's leg and hit his chest before hitting his hand in quick succession.

Newcastle fans are right to feel angry and throw the term 'robbed' around, but Marciniak and his VAR help Tomasz Kwiatkowski were right in awarding the penalty as per the current handball rules of UEFA.

UEFA rules do not consider whether the handball was intentional or not. The Laws of the Game deemed that Livramento had made his body unnaturally bigger.

"A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation. By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and being penalised"

Premier League handball rules

The Magpies' frustration comes from the fact that the Livramento offence would have not been penalised in a Premier League match. Ahead of the 2021/2022 season, the league adjusted its rules where it considered the ball's proximity to the arm before it hit it, as explained on the website.

"The proximity of the player whose hand or arm makes contact with the ball to where the ball was struck from will still be an important consideration for officials when making a decision to award handball or not."

Given that the ball seemingly bounced off two places before reaching the arm, the decision was highly unlikely to be given in a Premier League match.

UEFA recommends change to handball rule

The UEFA's advisory board has already made some recommendations to the rule to have it appealed. As captured on the website, the board wants no handball to be called against a player if the ball had previously deflected off him - a rule that could possibly seen Howe's charges get all three points on Tuesday night.

"The Board recommends that UEFA should clarify that no handball offence should be called on a player if the ball is previously deflected from his own body and, in particular, when the ball does not go towards the goal."

The result saw Newcastle drop to third place, with PSG taking second place with seven points, three behind leaders Borussia Dortmund. PSG travel to Germany on the final matchday as Newcastle welcome Milan.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)