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Question Number: 23078

Law 14 - Penalty kick 4/7/2010

RE: Select Under 14

Doug Crawford of Oakland, CA USA asks...

Hello Refs - This question is about a proper procedure for a PK, in professional game clip I saw on youtube:
The last sequence at 2:48 shows a player taking a penalty kick.
-The goalie is in position.
-The kicker walks up to the ball, adjusts the position of the ball for a couple seconds with his hands, and stands up and quickly taps the ball to his left.
-A teammate runs on, and sets up a goal against the surprised goalie.

My concern is that I didn't think the referee should allow the kicker to touch the ball after the ref has blown the whistle to allow the kick to be taken.

I thought all the players (kicker, goalie, and others) had to be in their positions, and the ball had to be on the spot, before the whistle is blown.

I would have stopped play, seen to it that the ball was stationary on the spot again, with players in position, and then blown the whistle for the kick again, insisting that no other action be taken until the kick is taken.

As an aside, I also would insist that the kicker not be running up to the ball as I am about to whistle.

Of course, after I blow the whistle, the kicker and goalie have all sorts of latitude now, allowing movement on the goal line by goalie, and weaving and slowing down and speeding up by kicker.

I've never seen it in writing, but that is the what I have been expecting on PKs, and what I would allow. What say you? /Doug

Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

This is a tough one...

I cannot see enough of this play to determine exactly what has transpired here. However, if the referee has blown the whistle, there is nothing specifically stated that he could not adjust the placement of the ball with his hands, as the ball is not yet in play.

That said, it does seem that the kickers actions deceived the defenders, but deception is permitted... so the question becomes was this unsporting behavior? I don't really see anything overtly unsporting here, we would permit this sort of thing at any other free kick, wouldn't we?

So, does this kick need to be retaken? I agree that it APPEARS to be contradicting the spirit of Law 14... but what infringement has the kicking team committed?

Let's say, for argument's sake, that the kicker did violate Law 14 after the referee blew the whistle, what is the proper procedure to handle this? Law 14 says we must:
- Allow the kick to be taken
- If the kick enters the goal, the kick is retaken
- If the kick does not enter the goal, an indirect free kick is given to the defending team from the spot of the infringement.

In this case, you would have to give an IFK to the defending team.

So, your suggested mechanic of stopping the kick may not be correct under the law, as we are supposed to let the event unfold after we blow the whistle.

Of course, if you decided conditions were not correct for the kick, you have the power to suspend play at your discretion, and then order the kick be taken again... a little prevention goes a long way too.

Lucky for you, as an American, you have the good old USSF Advice to Referees to count on, see 14.9:
'Infringements after the referee's whistle but before the ball is in play may be committed by the the kicker in particular include...making any motion of the hand or arm which (in the opinion of the referee) is clearly intended to confuse or misdirect the
attention of the 'keeper). In almost all such cases, the referee should let the kick proceed and deal with the violation in accordance with the chart below, which outlines the proper restarts for clear infringements of Law 14. However, in the case of a kicker creating an unnecessary delay in taking the kick, the referee should intervene, if possible, warn the kicker to proceed properly, and signal (whistle)
again for the restart.'

So... I think you can make the case that the kicker was creating an unnecessary delay in taking the kick, and be safe in taking the action you propose. It just might be the smartest move of all...

Otherwise you would need to let this play out and give the IFK at the moment the teammate touched the ball and it became apparent that the PK did not go into the goal.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Referee Crawford
This happened quite a long while ago in 1982. The player tapping the ball forward is Johnn Cruyff of Ajax and the scorer is Jesper Olsen.
There is nothing in the Law to say that the ball cannot be readjusted after the signal is given. Some sports such as rugby have a rule where the referee's permission is required to touch the ball after it is set. Soccer does not have such a rule and it is a spirit of the game decision. For me it would depend on the continued preparedness of the goalkeeper. Although in most situations where the ruse is now used the readjustment of the ball part is not used.
In the USSF area advice is available. In other parts of the world the referee has to decide whether to intervene or not by stopping the penalty kick process and request that the player wait for his signal again after readjusting the ball.
This ruse has been tried a number of times since without the 'readjusting of the ball' part and it is legal as the ball is kicked forward. In a Premier league game between Arsenal and Manchester City it failed miserably. See this video

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

I'm not sure what exactly you object to in the video. There is nothing wrong or against the spirit of the game when the kicker adjusts the ball with his hands as play hasn't restarted. likewise, there's nothing wrong with taking a short kick as long as the ball was kicked and moved forward, which it did. Assuming the teammate that gathered the first kick was in proper position when the kick was taken, he has every right to play the ball which he did to the original kicker who appeared onside when the ball was passed to him and the goal is good

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