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Question Number: 30530

Law 14 - Penalty kick 6/21/2016

RE: rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

What point is there of goal line assistants if they don't do as required.
Today's Spain / Croatia match had a penalty awarded to Spain.
As soft as the penalty was, I question why the goal line assistant did not call the keeper clearly moving off his line long before the kick was taken.
The CR's seem focused on ensure not PA encroachment (which does seem to be seeing better results in that matter) so why not the Goal line AR on keeper movement.
Either incompetence, or no guts (from either the assistant or those giving them instructions).

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Russell
I would safely say that more than 90 % of penalty kicks result in an infringement mainly by the goalkeeper yet also by players entering the penalty area. Some minor some not so.
Now do these infringements get called? Plainly no. Partly because 9 out of 10 penalties are scored and when not scored the referees see the infringements as trifling or doubtful. So there is nothing new here. The game has multiple examples of significant GK encroachment at the highest level. I alway refer to Jerzy Dudeks penalty saves against AC Milan in the 2005 CL final. Italians could ask why were the penalty saves or misses were allowed to stand with Jerzy Dudeks movement off the line? Only the referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzlez and his assistant from Spain can say why. None of the AC Milan player questioned the referees decision at the time and they showed excellent sportsmanship in accepting the outcome as part of the game.
Now I suspect that if any high profile referee was asked about this they would say that a high degree of latitude is given to the GK on movement and that only blatant encroachment is called. We do not know what instructions the CR gave his assistants including AARs. He could have said that he would look after encroachment or that as mentioned that there should be latitude given with only blatant movement called, We then get into how much is acceptable and therein lies the problem. So I would not just lay the blame at AARs. They are no different from ARs and their main task has been to decide hair line goals. With the advent of technology their days IMO are numbered.
A final thought on this. Mainly it is only match officials that pay significant attention to this. The vast majority in the game do not. These infringements have become part of the game much like the pulling /pushing at corner kicks etc. Refs at this level do not bring attention to themselves and let what I call many venial decisions slide. Unfortunately the modern game has developed a culture of only questioning big decisions. A retake would have been a very big decision in the game and one that does not happen very often. It was easier to let it slide. The aftermath was not so much about the refereeing decision of Referee Kuipers yet rather about Ramos missing, Modric giving info to the GK, Iniesta wanting to take the kick etc. Referee Kuipers is around for a very long time, highly respected and I suspect he was not going to become an outlier on a decision that is ignored many many times in the game at all levels.

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Answer provided by Referee James Sowa


The AAR in this case is following whatever instructions were given by the referee. So any 'blame' should be directed towards the referee. That said, I personally don't see anything wrong with the keeper's movement here. It was relatively minimal and had no impact on the play as the ball was kicked essentially right at him. Also, notice how there are NO calls for a retake by the Spaniards.

In the games I work, I give my ARs the following instructions:

1) One step (ie 1 yard) is okay for the keeper to come forward. More than that and I want to know.

2) Even if the keeper comes out more than one step, if it has no bearing on the play (ball kicked at him or off frame) then we will not do anything.

3) We give the same latitude to both keepers.

4) If you have an issue, give me the soft signal (I show them) and I will make the final decision.

While you may not agree with this, it is a reality of the game at this point.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Russell,

Personally I would argue that the encroachment by the defender of around 3 yards (who then collected the rebound) was actually more significant than the keeper's - either way I certainly agree that it should have been retaken!

But that part in particular will be the referee's call. As my colleagues pointed out, we don't know what the referee has instructed the AAR. The instructions may have been that the referee will take care of all encroachment (after all, the referee can see how far the encroachment is).

As you know some leeway tends to be given to keepers - and the fact that the ball went straight to the keeper may have meant the referee decided to be more lenient (given the encroachment did not clearly impact upon play). There's a question of how much tolerance you can have here - but I think the defender encroachment was not only a larger breach but had a definite impact upon play.

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