National Forum

Hand On The Back?

(Oldest Posts First)

A question came up recently around placing a hand on the back of an opposition player and if that should result in a free or not, in hurling or Foothball. Over the years i watched and played in countless games in which i have heard players, managers and spectators call "hand on the back ref" asking for a free. I still regularly hear this at games. It was drilled into us from an early age by coaches, One reason we were given for the need to keep both hands on the hurl was it made it impossible for you to place a hand on the back of another player and concede a free.
Now i have since checked up the current rules and confirmed that placing a hand on a opposition players back is not a a free.  There must be push for it to warrant a free.

I can recall when i was playing being awarded, as well as conceding numerous fouls and having different referee's give the reason for the free as "hand on the back". 
Question: In either code, was it ever a free to "place a hand on the back of an opposition player"?
Or was this one of those assumptions that was never actually a rule.

Marse (Dublin) - Posts: 217 - 14/09/2021 13:50:35    2380615

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I think the issue is that any slight push in the back even with minimal force can cause someone who is running and potentially trying to slow up, bend and rise a sliotar/football to hit the deck or fluff the pick up. Hence a referee assumes that a hand on the back = a push.

The biggest joke is when someone is near the sidelines and referees allow them to be shoved/pushed over the sideline..........

Anyway i am sick saying it but we need to get rid of linesmen and have 3 refs patrolling a section of the pitch each. They can call the line balls and also look at the off the ball stuff. No extra officials needed just tweak who is responsible for what. Would be a much improved game.

Mayonman (Galway) - Posts: 1430 - 15/09/2021 11:31:42    2380843

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I don't know what the official rule is but if you're running and your opponent places his hand on your back, like literally grazes it, if you throw yourself to the ground the ref will fall for it.
Like putting your arm around a players neck to tackle or a soccer player taking his top off to celebrate a goal. You know you're going to be punished so just don't do it.

Galway9801 (Galway) - Posts: 936 - 15/09/2021 19:03:26    2380966

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Replying To Galway9801:  "I don't know what the official rule is but if you're running and your opponent places his hand on your back, like literally grazes it, if you throw yourself to the ground the ref will fall for it.
Like putting your arm around a players neck to tackle or a soccer player taking his top off to celebrate a goal. You know you're going to be punished so just don't do it."
Oh i agree, it's not a good idea to put a hand on the back as it can easily be manipulated to make it seem like a push. But for the longest time i, and i know I'm not alone in this, thought just placing and hand of the back was itself a free.

Marse (Dublin) - Posts: 217 - 15/09/2021 23:28:52    2381026

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Replying To Marse:  "A question came up recently around placing a hand on the back of an opposition player and if that should result in a free or not, in hurling or Foothball. Over the years i watched and played in countless games in which i have heard players, managers and spectators call "hand on the back ref" asking for a free. I still regularly hear this at games. It was drilled into us from an early age by coaches, One reason we were given for the need to keep both hands on the hurl was it made it impossible for you to place a hand on the back of another player and concede a free.
Now i have since checked up the current rules and confirmed that placing a hand on a opposition players back is not a a free.  There must be push for it to warrant a free.

I can recall when i was playing being awarded, as well as conceding numerous fouls and having different referee's give the reason for the free as "hand on the back". 
Question: In either code, was it ever a free to "place a hand on the back of an opposition player"?
Or was this one of those assumptions that was never actually a rule."
If there is any movement (and there usually is) then there is a fine line between a hand on the back and a push no matter how slight. What i am seeing especially in Football are pushes.

arock (Dublin) - Posts: 4727 - 15/09/2021 23:58:19    2381030

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"hand on the back" is a euphemism for a push in the back. a hand placed on someone else's back ever so slightly would still techniclaly be a push

slasher9 (Longford) - Posts: 79 - 16/09/2021 09:22:11    2381043

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Replying To Marse:  "A question came up recently around placing a hand on the back of an opposition player and if that should result in a free or not, in hurling or Foothball. Over the years i watched and played in countless games in which i have heard players, managers and spectators call "hand on the back ref" asking for a free. I still regularly hear this at games. It was drilled into us from an early age by coaches, One reason we were given for the need to keep both hands on the hurl was it made it impossible for you to place a hand on the back of another player and concede a free.
Now i have since checked up the current rules and confirmed that placing a hand on a opposition players back is not a a free.  There must be push for it to warrant a free.

I can recall when i was playing being awarded, as well as conceding numerous fouls and having different referee's give the reason for the free as "hand on the back". 
Question: In either code, was it ever a free to "place a hand on the back of an opposition player"?
Or was this one of those assumptions that was never actually a rule."
Hand on the back is not a foul in either codes, players need to balance themselves.

exref (Antrim) - Posts: 60 - 16/09/2021 17:38:52    2381153

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Not sure about other counties but when I played in the 80s and 90s this was certainly a big thing in Dublin. Managers would always go on about it and referees would give frees for nothing (football or hurling). In hurling all sorts of wild pulling would go unpunished but put your hand on your opponent's back and it was an automatic free. Have to say I felt this obsession didn't help Dublin when it came to the Leinster hurling championship and anytime I played in a club hurling tournament outside the county with a non-Dublin ref it almost felt like a different (better) game.

rcarragh (Dublin) - Posts: 300 - 16/09/2021 19:03:05    2381169

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Replying To rcarragh:  "Not sure about other counties but when I played in the 80s and 90s this was certainly a big thing in Dublin. Managers would always go on about it and referees would give frees for nothing (football or hurling). In hurling all sorts of wild pulling would go unpunished but put your hand on your opponent's back and it was an automatic free. Have to say I felt this obsession didn't help Dublin when it came to the Leinster hurling championship and anytime I played in a club hurling tournament outside the county with a non-Dublin ref it almost felt like a different (better) game."
Hurling reffing in Dublin used to be a joke back then. Definitely held the county team back for years.

BarneyGrant (Dublin) - Posts: 245 - 16/09/2021 21:01:42    2381186

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And what is the current excuse for holding Dublin hurling back.?

BlueBeret (Dublin) - Posts: 36 - 17/09/2021 00:18:54    2381238

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Replying To Galway9801:  "I don't know what the official rule is but if you're running and your opponent places his hand on your back, like literally grazes it, if you throw yourself to the ground the ref will fall for it.
Like putting your arm around a players neck to tackle or a soccer player taking his top off to celebrate a goal. You know you're going to be punished so just don't do it."
Very true. Ironically, its easier to tackle for the ball with the hand closest to the opponent which makes it impossible to also have a hand on the back! I can never understand this when watching the elite play the game!

Ban (Westmeath) - Posts: 1203 - 17/09/2021 14:20:51    2381322

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My understanding is that it was once a foul so the rule must have been changed at some stage in recent times. A free will always been given if you do it when a players is bending to pick up the ball in either hurling or football. I really think at this stage that the rule book needs to be reviewed and some rules need to removed as they are either not being implemented or are no longer relevant. Most hurlers in Ireland are throwing the ball at this stage plus there are a large number of incidents of footballers either handling the ball on the ground or picking up. We need to enforce some rules and we need to do away with other rules especially the ones that slow down the flow of the game. I think there are too many rules but that is just a personal opinion. I agree with the poster who suggested getting rid of linesmen and bringing in an extra referee. Don't know if this practical at club level for all matches but definitely worth trailing at intercounty level. It would help tidy up a lot of incidents such as a player being shoved over the sideline which is happening a lot.

wicklowsupport (Wicklow) - Posts: 1415 - 17/09/2021 16:32:15    2381355

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Replying To exref:  "Hand on the back is not a foul in either codes, players need to balance themselves."
Why would anyone put a hand on a back except to push the opposing player-even a slight touch on the back can effect a player kicking the ball irrespective of balance. The ball is controlled by ones hands, so hands on a players back is a strange way to tackle!

browncows (Meath) - Posts: 2277 - 17/09/2021 22:01:02    2381401

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Replying To Galway9801:  "I don't know what the official rule is but if you're running and your opponent places his hand on your back, like literally grazes it, if you throw yourself to the ground the ref will fall for it.
Like putting your arm around a players neck to tackle or a soccer player taking his top off to celebrate a goal. You know you're going to be punished so just don't do it."
The default reaction of any ref when a player goes down after a hand is placed on their back is a free blown for by the ref. It is the same as a pull on the jersey. Players are now diving because there is an incentive to do so especially when the free is within the range of the free-taker. There is no incentive in that situation to stay on your feet.

Greengrass (Louth) - Posts: 5667 - 18/09/2021 10:10:43    2381430

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