May 21, 2022

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola slams ‘ridiculous’ handball rule blighting the game

Pep Guardiola branded the current handball rule ‘ridiculous’ as the Premier League begins lobbying for change.


The start of the season has been blighted by controversial penalties and came to a head when Tottenham’s Eric Dier was adjudged to have handled inside the box against Newcastle last weekend.

Guardiola agrees with the outcry that followed the incident and is in favour of a softening of the rules, with the league open to altering the rules after listening to concerns and having raised fears with IFAB.

‘Football is an unpredictable game,’ the Manchester City manager said. ‘The hand from Eric Dier, the one from Brighton against United, West Ham against Arsenal.

‘Everyone knows if there is an intentional hand or when it is absolutely unintentional, when one guy jumps in the box and after the deflection hits the hand.

‘You get a penalty that, honestly, is quite ridiculous, but hopefully the referees and managers can decide the best for the game, to be most fair.’

City face Leeds at Elland Road on Saturday hoping to bounce back from the galling 5-2 defeat by Leicester City.

Ilkay Gundogan has returned to the City Football Academy after self isolating but is not available for selection, while new £64million signing Ruben Dias is in contention.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side have surprised many in the opening weeks of the campaign and Guardiola waxed lyrical about the Argentine. The pair are close but have not spoken before the meeting.

He added: ‘Well, what can I say? I think he’s probably the person I admire the most in world football as a manager and a person.

‘I think he’s the most authentic manager in terms of how he conducts his teams. He’s unique, nobody can imitate him.

‘I don’t see him every week but it’s a pleasure when I can – it’s so inspirational for me. My theory is that a manager is not just about titles.

‘I won more titles than him, but in terms of knowledge at training sessions, I’m still away from him.

‘It’s a good gift to have him in the Premier League as his teams are a joy, honest, produce good football and it’s good for England.’

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