December 3, 2016

Referee Advent Calendar - Door 3: Penalty Kicks - What is and what is not permitted

Door 3 concentrates on penalty kicks. It is relatively robust trend that there is 1 penalty in every 4th match on UEFA level (~ 24-27% at EURO 2016 and the last three UCL seasons). As the IFAB modified Law 14, it might be worth to focus on what is and on what is not permitted since then.



Please check Law 14 here (starting on page 94).


Encroaching Players

By the letter of the law, all players have to be "at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the penalty mark, behind the penalty mark, inside the field of play [and] outside the penalty area" (p. 95 LotG).

At almost every penalty, you however see players slightly entering the penalty area before the kick has been taken. This is what we call encroachment.

Common sense tells us that we cannot take out a tape measure in terms of that though - light encroachment seems to be part of football and as long as you don't want to repeat almost every penalty, you should accept some centimetres from both sides. As soon as the encroachment becomes blatant, though, you will have to intervene. The problem is that there are no official guidelines when an encroachment becomes blatant. Everything above 20cm? Or 50cm? Or 1m? More on that later.

What might happen if you strictly apply the laws can be watched here or in the following clip showing the beginnings of Roberto Rosetti's international breakthrough:


While the encroachment in the second penalty must be considered as quite blatant (around 2 metres), you can see that the referee put himself under enormous pressure by ordering the first penalty execution to be repeated for a few centimetres. By the laws of the game, the officials were right, but as nobody wanted or tried to ask for a repetition and as the player encroached only by a few centimetres, allowing the goal to stand would have been the better decision. This even becomes more striking when checking the third penalty, which then finally counted. The Brazilian defender actually encroached in a same extent compared to the attacking player in the first penalty.

So you have to be aware that punishing an encroachment might put you under pressure to stay consistent. If you start to punish 10 centimetres, then you might repeat a penalty three or four times... or even more than five times, as the following clip (Olympic Games 2004) shows.


Encroaching Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers must remain on the goal line, facing the kicker, while standing between the two goalposts until the ball has been kicked.

Although I am no mathematician, it is quite intuitive that the closer goalkeepers would move towards the penalty-taker, the smaller the shooting angles become (and the easier it is to save the penalty kick). That's why most goalkeepers de facto do it. Therefore, assistant referees are reminded on controlling the goalkeeper's position on the goal line and stepping in if needed.

Since last July, goalkeepers are punished for encroachment - as long as no goal is scored - with a yellow card. The penalty kick will be retaken.

Encroachment by goalkeepers can be either obvious/blatant (in this case they are mostly already positioned before the goal line with one or both feet) or acceptable/light (in this case they move forward when the ball is approaching them, but stay with their feet on the line until it is kicked). But of course there are also some grey areas between these poles - that's what I am going to call "moderate" in the following.

You surely remember the situation in Croatia-Spain at EURO 2016, but there even was a more significant encroachment deciding the 2014 UEFA Europa League trophy:


Both saves are obvious encroachments which cannot be tolerated. Both penalties must be retaken (and the goalkeeper has to be cautioned).

In this situation, the assistant referee correctly informs the referee about a blatant encroachment of the goalkeeper which might have enabled him to save the ball. However, pay attention to when the assistant raises his flag:


The situation goes on...:


Although there is a moderate encroachment which can and maybe should be penalized in case of a save, the assistant referee is again (see above) too quick with his flag and does not apply the wait-and-see-technique. Better wait a moment and see whether the goalkeeper really draws an advantage from the encroachment or whether the attacking team can score from a possible rebound as long as there is a clear scoring opportunity.

If the penalty results in a goal despite a goalkeeper's encroachment, you of course give the goal and do not punish the goalkeeper (see here).

Another incident from the AFCON final 2012:


Repeating this penalty might be supported by many people, but might appear to be a bit harsh to others. Protests are usually a helpful, but no completely reliable criteria which indicates the correctness or conformity of a decision. But if really nobody even thinks about an encroachment, one can argue that referees should accept it.

However, encroachment is not the only reason for considering a penalty kick repetition or indirect free-kick.


Double-Touches

If the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player, e.g. after returning to him directly from the crossbar: indirect free-kick for the defenders (except deliberate handball: then direct free-kick):



If an outside agent touches the ball as it moves forward, the kick must be retaken.


Feinting

Legal Feinting: Players may feint in the run-up - this is considered as being part of football (deliberate feinting see here, for undeliberate "feinting" see the following clip :)).


Illegal Feinting: Players may not feint to kick the ball once they have completed the run-up. In this case, an indirect free-kick must be awarded to the defending team regardless of whether or not a goal is scored. The offender must be cautioned with a yellow card for the illegal feinting. An example of that (keep in mind that from now on the penalty kick would not be repeated!):


Identified Kicker

If a team-mate of the player identified to take the penalty takes the kick, an indirect free-kick must be awarded to the defending team and the wrong kicker must be cautioned with a yellow card.


Important: Don't caution both players. It might be that the identified kicker is equally surprised by his teammate. Only the wrong kicker has to get the yellow card. In the specific video, you might caution the identified kicker for unsporting behaviour though.


What if two offences happen simultaneously?

It might be that you encounter the following scenarios in your game, assumed it is a penalty kick in the real match and not in a penalty shoot-out determing the winner of the match. In terms of simultaneously offences, you should keep the new Law 5 in mind:

"The referee ...  punishes the more serious offence, in terms of sanction, restart, physical severity and tactical impact, when more than one offence occurs at the same time."

According to the IFAB, this also counts for penalty kick executions.

If e.g., a defender encroaches, but the attacker illegally feints, the defending team has to get an indirect free-kick as the attacking player's offence is more serious than the defender's (feinting is sanctioned with a YC). Or if the goalkeeper encroaches and an attacker does the same, the goalkeeper's offence is actually the stronger one.

If however both offences are equally serious (e.g. encroachment by defender and attacker - both no YC; encroachment by goalkeeper and illegal feinting by attacker - both YC), then the penalty kick has to be retaken and the appropriate disciplinary measures must be taken (in case even against both players).

One criticism you can raise in terms of that is the following scenario:

Imagine a routined goalkeeper who is used to automatisms expects a penalty kick to be taken and therefore makes an acceptable step towards the ball at the moment of the kick. However, the attacking player illegally feints the execution so that the ball is not kicked at the expected moment. For this reason, the goalkeeper is already 1m inside the penalty area at the moment of the delayed kick and saves the ball. The IFAB wants a yellow card for both players - the penalty should be repeated. It can be doubted that the goalkeeper's offence is really as serious as the feinting though, as it was rather the consequence of the attacker's offence.


Other Tricks

Curious things happen in football!
 
Some players take a penalty with their backheel. This is permitted and legal. The ball must move forward, though:


Other players - noone less than Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez for example - prefer other tricks like this one:


The trick itself is permitted and legal as all requirements prescribed by the laws are met. However, Luis Suárez entered the penalty area too early and therefore encroached. As he was even the one scoring the goal, this encroachment is extremely blatant. As Messi actually did not score a goal, the penalty cannot be retaken. An indirect free-kick must be awarded in favour of the defenders (even though the laws do not explicitly cover this special case).


Summary Table


#
Attacker/Kicker
Defender
Goalkeeper
Goal
No Goal
1
encroaches
---
---
Penalty is retaken
Indirect free-kick

2
---
encroaches
---
Goal
Penalty is retaken

3
---
---
encroaches
Goal
Penalty is retaken and caution for goalkeeper

4
encroaches
encroaches
---
Penalty is retaken
Penalty is retaken

5
encroaches
---
encroaches
Penalty is retaken and caution for goalkeeper*
Penalty is retaken and caution for the goalkeeper

6
---
encroaches
encroaches
Goal
Penalty is retaken and caution for the goalkeeper

7
feints illegally
---
---
Indirect free-kick and caution for kicker
Indirect free-kick and caution for kicker

8
feints illegally
encroaches
---
Indirect free-kick and caution for the attacker/kicker
Indirect free-kick and caution for the attacker/kicker

9
feints illegally
---
encroaches
Penalty is retaken and caution for both players (attacker and goalkeeper)
Penalty is retaken and caution for both players (attacker and goalkeeper)

10
wrong kicker
---
---
Indirect free-kick and caution for wrong kicker
Indirect free-kick and caution for wrong kicker

11
wrong kicker
encroaches
---
Indirect free-kick and caution for wrong kicker
Indirect free-kick and caution for wrong kicker

12
wrong kicker
---
encroaches
Penalty is retaken and caution for both players (wrong kicker and goalkeeper)
Penalty is retaken and caution for both players (wrong kicker and goalkeeper)

13
kicks the ball backwards
---
---
Indirect free-kick
Indirect free-kick
14
backheels the kick


Goal (no offence)
Play-On (no offence)
* the Law seems to be a bit unclear in this case, but common sense tells us so 


Question for you: How to decide in the following, fictive scenario?



Responses

4 Comments:

  1. I must say, excellent lesson about penalty kick. I can't find other arguments, you really treated everything!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The list you made was very good and could come to use if you want to prove to someone what the rulebook says.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hie Niclas.

    I disagree about the case when there is an illegal feint by the kicker and the goalkeeper encroaches at the same time.
    The decision should be :
    - Indirect Free kick if the goal is scored and just a yellow card for the kicker
    - Penalty to be retaken if the goal is not scored and a yellow card for both (kicker and goalkeeper)

    This is from the circular of the IFAB published on November :
    http://static-3eb8.kxcdn.com/documents/200/Circular%20%207_2016_v0.3_EN.pdf

    Regards

    ReplyDelete
  4. I believe one of the best videos on goalkeeper encroachment is this one, from MLS a few years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erdYfgregHs

    ReplyDelete

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