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Question Number: 33337

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 5/12/2019

RE: Adult

engin ataman of olympia, WA United States asks...

during a penalty kick... both team members clearly commit encroachment offence. the kick hits the post and bounces right back to the penalty taker. Therefore he touches the ball before anyone else and it is also an offence.

The law says, if both teams commit encroachment, the kick is retaken whether it is a goal or not... unless another player commits a more serious offence (such as feinting).

The question is, is double touch a more serious offence? During a game in Turkish League this week, the scenario above happened and game started with an indirect free kick.

penalty kick is at 45th second of the video.

Could you clarify the law and let us know if this was the right decision? Or the penalty kick should have been retaken?
Thank you

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Egin,
you are correct in the quotes you use to describe & clarify the LOTG. The key decision here is the referee (probably) decided to ignore the mutual encroachment as trifling or doubtful and use the 2nd touch violation as the reason to restart. My question is not that he made it but he waited so long to do so? The INDFK 2nd touch occurs well after the encroachment. I was thinking he might have thought the keeper got a touch and needed to conform yes or no first. The truly correct decision was to disallow the goal & go with a retake but I think the INDFK out is the best solution here given the circumstances there was no VAR review.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Engin
As you say there are a number of offences here by both the attacking team and by the defending team. Those all happened before the 2nd touch infringement and my interpretation of the more serious offence is one that requires a caution or a direct free kick instead of an indirect one. The law also tells us that the more serious offence is considered in terms of sanction, restart, physical severity and tactical impact, when more than one offence occurs at the same time.
For example a player handles a ball on a second touch the referee penalises the more serious offence of handling. In the penalty kick situation if say the kicker illegally feinted and the goalkeeper came off the line with a goal scored the kicker is cautioned and an IDFK to the defending team with no caution to the Gk. Interestingly if no goal is scored both players are cautioned and a retake.
So for me the correct decision here based on the video review was a retake for encroachment by both sides.
I suspect that like most penalty kicks where encroachment is rarely strictly called that the referee went with the obvious offence which had to be called which was the double touch infringement. That is the one that the referee can be seen to be focussed on. Does he see the encroachment or the extent of it by both teams? Or like on many kicks it is seen yet not called as doubtful / trifling.
You might ask about the use of VAR here and it had no role in this unique situation and I quote the VAR advice to explain why.
** Encroachment can only be reviewed if:
# an attacker who encroached scores or is directly involved in a goal being scored
# a defender who encroached prevents an attacker playing or being able to play the ball in a situation where a goal might be scored
# Other encroachment offences and other infringements which do not directly affect whether a goal is scored cannot be reviewed.** end quote
So as the referee called the IDFK for the obvious double touch offence and as there was no reviewable VAR event possible (not one of the three points was present) then the referee went with the IDFK offence.
Having said that I notice that where VAR is used that encroachment does not happen as blatantly as it did here as there can be reviewable outcomes such as a defender kicking the ball away from an attacker, an attacker scoring. There was no reviewable outcome here as the only relevant player was the kicker who played the ball fir a second time.
On balance I would say that had the kicker not played the ball there could have been another outcome most likely a VAR review and a retake.
What we can say for certain is the kicker certainly infringed Law 14 and that was penalised. The other encroachment needed to be seen clearly which it may not have been in real time.
On balance I would say the * best* decision was made in the circumstances taking into account all the factors.

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