Gary Lineker's four-year-old handball tweet comes back to haunt presenter

Nearly five years ago, Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker was a stern advocate for changing the handball rule.

After seeing several teams denied a plethora of spot-kicks, Lineker called for change on Twitter. In January 2016, the former Everton and Barcelona striker tweeted: “It’s time they changed the handball law.

“Make it that every time it strikes a hand/arm it’s a free-kick/penalty regardless of intent.”

Lineker’s call for change was well received with over 1000 people liking and retweeting his tweet.

He got his wish ahead of the 2019/20 season when the Premier League implemented the International Football Association Board’s new ruling.

Gary Lineker’s old tweet calling for a change to the handball law has come back to haunt him

The ruling subsequently meant every goal scored or created with the use of the hand or arm would be disallowed – even if it was accidental.

It also meant a foul would be awarded if the ball hit a player who made their body “unnaturally bigger”.

The new rule wreaked havoc last season, with several soft penalties being awarded. This season has been no different, with the latest controversial awarding of a spot-kick coming in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Sunday.

1. Real Madrid – £1.286bn (£205m fall from 2019)

2. Barcelona – £1.280bn (£18.1m rise)

3. Manchester United – £1.190bn (£143m fall)

4. Liverpool – £1.143bn (£64.3m rise)

5. Manchester City – £1.018bn (£118m fall)

6. Bayern Munich – £957m (£233m fall)

7. Paris Saint-Germain – £876m (£48m rise)

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8. Chelsea – £859m (£17m fall)

9. Tottenham Hotspur – £710m (£23.5m rise)

10. Arsenal – £651m (£150m fall)

Lineker, like many others, was angered when referee Peter Bankes awarded the visitors a 90th penalty when Eric Dier was adjudged to have handled the ball whilst challenging Jamaal Lascelles for a header.

He tweeted: “Ludicrous. Utterly ludicrous law exacerbated by VAR. Can we have our game back please?”

Lineker’s thoughts on the penalty didn’t go unnoticed by those who remembered his previous tweet on the law.

One fan responded with a screenshot of the tweet with the and replied: “This you?”

Another said: “Nothing like having a consistent point of view Gary.”

“19 pens in 25 matches so far this season,” said another of Lineker’s followers. “Partly due to your “ludicrous” idea. Are you going to admit you were wrong & change your mind?”

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was left fuming at Bankes’ decision to award Newcastle a spot-kick but refused to be drawn on the matter in his post-match interview.

“I don’t think (about the handball),” he said. “I think about my team performance. A really, really good team performance.

Gary Lineker’s reaction to Newcastle’s controversial spot-kick against Tottenham

“First half, amazing, it should be three of four nil easy. But Darlow was fantastic and we hit the post and they managed to survive.

“In the second goal we kept the control, we kept them away from our box.

“We know the danger of the box. Every box is an 18-yard box but there are boxes and boxes and we know that the Tottenham box is a special box.

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“So we managed to keep them always away and then we had a situation that we lost two points. But I’m not going to comment on it.”


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