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Question Number: 32234

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 2/13/2018

RE: ex pro ref. Adult

andrew elliot of palm coast, FL United States asks...

why are players now allowed to enter the penalty area before the kicker has taken a penalty kick? I have had spot kicks re-taken because of encroachment but that doesn't seem to be the rule now.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Andrew
The law has not changed. What has happened is that many referees have become somewhat laxed in enforcing the law strictly. Some see limited encroachment as trifling or doubtful with no effect on the kick and as a result they allow the kick to stand. Also generally with encroachment both teams enter the penalty area so it is a retake of the kick if a goal is scored or not. With a level of tolerance being acceptable the question of how much is allowed then is the question. The phrase how long is a piece of string comes to mind as to the acceptable level of encroachment that is trifling.
I also think that teams rarely complain about encroachment and if a goal is scored with no obvious effect on play many referees just let it slide. I recall a recent retake that I requested for encroachment and I was heavily berated for the decision. It would have been easier to let it slide particularly when no one really picked up on the encroachment other than myself. The defending team was obviously happy for a retake yet had it been allowed would not have questioned me on it. That has an influence on referee thinking in such situations.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Andrew,
your observation is one held by many, that the LOTG are not being strictly enforced when it comes to encroachment at PK situations.

Actually you are incorrect in thinking it is not within the LOTG to retake or nullify PK results for encroachment. The LOTG DO state the procedures that are supposed to be followed and IF not followed there are supposed to be consequences.

What the issue SEEMS to be is the ignoring of illegal actions as they are ITOOTR to be trifling or doubtful impact on the actual PK kick!

When it is a CLEAR MISS or a CLEAR GOAL the infringing encroachments often play little effect in the outcome. At least in theory if not practicality.

What does get considered is the KEEPER off the line and due to the mandatory caution that is supposed to accompany such a situation I think referees are in general reluctant to intervene. UNLESS the keeper makes a DIRECT save by virtue of their moving off their goal line well ahead of the kick.

Where player encroachment gets greater attention or at least SHOULD is if a miss or a set play results in a loose ball or rebound or a legit save and the ball is now back in play as encroaching defenders who could clear the ball out of danger or attackers who could get to it first to score the goal.

I have seen FAR TO MANY encroachment PKs result in goals and misses by the ARs and CRs not being diligent in watching WHO is participating and WHEN they entered the PA area.

My solution is simple a PK occurs but rather than a place spot kick do what was tried in the MLS! On the whistle a designated player will dribble the ball in from outside the PA allow the keeper to go where he wants once the whistle sounds. Put 30 seconds on the clock for the player to shoot.
A miss results in a goal kick or indfk out a score we have kick off. .

FIFA 2018 LOTG penalty kicks law 14

Once the referee has signalled for a penalty kick to be taken, the kick must be taken. If, before the ball is in play, one of the following occurs:
the player taking the penalty kick or a team-mate offends: if the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken
if the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and restarts with an indirect free kick

except for the following when play will be stopped and restarted with an indirect free kick, regardless of whether or not a goal is scored
: a penalty kick is kicked backwards

a team-mate of the identified kicker takes the kick; the referee cautions the player who took the kick
feinting to kick the ball once the kicker has completed the run-up (feinting in the run-up is permitted); the referee cautions the kicker

the goalkeeper or a team-mate offends: if the ball enters the goal, a goal is awarded
if the ball does not enter the goal, the kick is retaken; the goalkeeper is cautioned if responsible for the offence

a player of both teams offends the Laws of the Game, the kick is retaken unless a player commits a more serious offence (e.g. illegal feinting); if both the goalkeeper and kicker commit an offence at the same time:
if the kick is missed or saved, the kick is retaken and both players cautioned
if the kick is scored, the goal is disallowed, the kicker is cautioned and play restarts with an indirect free kick to the defending team

If, after the penalty kick has been taken:
the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player: an indirect free kick (or direct free kick for deliberate hand ball) is awarded

the ball is touched by an outside agent as it moves forward:
the kick is retaken unless the ball is going into the goal and the interference does not prevent the goalkeeper or a defending player playing the ball, in which case the goal is awarded if the ball enters the goal (even if contact was made with the ball) unless the ball enters the opponents' goal

the ball rebounds into the field of play from the goalkeeper, the crossbar or the goalposts and is then touched by an outside agent: the referee stops play
play is restarted with a dropped ball at the position where it touched the outside agent


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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Andrew,
I suppose it depends on what you mean when you say 'players are now allowed' to do this. The law as it is currently written, does not allow this behaviour. However it is true that encroachment at penalty kicks is being routinely ignored by many referees. As my colleagues mention, this is probably because the referees in question feel the actions are trivial or have no real effect on the proceedings. I am not sure this is necessarily true - for instance I saw a penalty kick in a televised game recently where after the keeper had managed to save a penalty kick, a defender was able to get to the rebound before the penalty kick taker, only because he was already well inside the penalty area when the kick was struck. To my mind this penalty should have been retaken, but it was not.

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