In Jan 24 2010 game between Inter Milan and AC Milan, at the later time in the second half, Inter Milan defender Lucio standing in the goal area to defend and AC Milan’s forwarder shot towards him.

Lucio dodged with a hand waved over his shoulder and stopped the ball.

AC Milan was awarded a penalty. Lucio was shown the 2nd yellow card and sent off.

We got two questions:

1. should this dodge and pat action be viewed as undeliberately handling the ball, which is not a foul, and avoid the penalty?

2. if it is a deliberate handling of the ball, should this be viewed as prevent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and send off Lucio?

USSF answer (January 27, 2010):
1. No, this was clearly deliberate handling. Lucio “made himself bigger” by raising his hand to an unnatural position and thus deliberately handled the ball.

2. That is certainly possible, but the referee on the game saw it as a cautionable offense. U. S. referees are advised that the criterion for denying a goal by handling is that if the handling had not occurred, would the ball have gone into the net. If the referee decided that the ball wasn’t going to go into the net without the handling, then a red card would not be correct.

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