It seems that some of the examples we've seen from USSF over the past 2-3 years include some in which the player's arm was in what most people would consider a completely normal playing position, yet because the arm was 'taking up space' (as compared to the player not having an arm or putting the arm behind his back), the 'correct' decision was a penalty kick. That bothers me. The Handling directive (2/2/2009) is one of the most troublesome things ever produced by the referee department. There are just so many things wrong with it, the worst of them being these 2: 1. The whole 'making yourself bigger' as a way of determining handling is absolute rubbish. 2. Even worse is the statement that 'did the player benefit?' should have ANY bearing whatsoever in determining handling. It absolutely should NOT. It flies in the face of everything that referees have been taught for years and years. The 'unnatural position' guidance was very good and is the right way to look at things. Anyway, the directive does NOT say 'deliberately taking up space.' It say 'takes away space' once or twice but actually the focus is on the 'makes himself bigger' phrase. Going back to what I said before -- a player's arm can be taking up space but be in a perfectly natural playing position, and therefore the player should NOT be under any risk of being penalized for handling. Yet the directive suggests otherwise. Even so, a player who purposely leaves his arms at his sides, in a natural playing position, IS 'deliberately taking up space.' He knows where his arms are, he knows they are taking up space. The idea that he shouldn't be able to do this for fear of handling is ridiculous. If we are to assume that USSF's definition of 'deliberately taking up space' is restricted to cases in which the referee feels the player takes up space for the purpose of taking space away from the opponent, as opposed to taking up space being a result of having one's body parts in a normal playing position...well, now we are trying to read the player's intent. And that's not a good idea. Yes, pro players are being punished way too harshly for handling. The fact that we see so many defenders running around challenging 1v1 in the penalty area with their arms behind their back shows that referees worldwide, and the people who shape policy, have gone too far. A player should not need to fear conceding a PK so much that he cannot leave his arms at his side.