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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33450

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 6/17/2019

RE: Competitive Under 16

YVES A VIDAURRE of WESTMINSTER, CO United States asks...

WWC - Yellow card shown to goalies for moving off of the line before ball is struck. Why are yellow cards not also shown to players that have encroached in the penalty area before the ball is struck?
VAR focusing on the goalies seems incredibly unfair, when the penalty not only is retaken, but they are also shown a yellow card.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Yves ,
I am with you on that topic. I speak for us all that in general we do not feel the caution for an early step out is warranted given it is a retake if it misses . The encroachment of the outlying player rarely has any impact on a shot unless it was to grab a rebound unfairly but your point is well stated. It is unfair to put so much pressure on a keeper. IFAB permitted a change, they allowed a step out with one foot in the goal line as a compromise of sorts. In reality it also places a lot of pressure on referees who simply feel uncomfortable calling it with the caution added . Now VAR has no conscience, they go by video proof, if they force the issue, a card will follow.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Yves,
Ref McHugh has given the full wording from the VAR protocol. As it shows, non-keeper encroachment at a penalty can only be reviewed if the encroaching player gets involved in either scoring or preventing a goal. The rationale behind this is one of the the principles at the heart of the VAR system. VAR is not supposed to be used to check every single thing, only key, match-changing incidents. A goalkeeper coming too far off their line and either saving a penalty or contributing to it being missed, has a direct effect on whether a goal is scored. A player encroaching at the edge of the penalty area does not normally have any direct effect - but if they did (after a rebound or a legitimate save, for instance) then it would be reviewed.

I agree with ref McHugh that it does seem harsh to penalise such a minor (one might even say, trivial) infraction as this one but the VAR teams have obviously been told to enforce this stringently.

I think that in the end - and assuming this approach continues in the future with all other competition using VAR, goalkeepers will just have to adjust to this new reality. As a former goalkeeper and goalkeeping coach, I would say they can do this relatively easily and without necessarily too much effect on their chances of saving a penalty. For me, coming off the line doesn't really help all that much. The amount by which you are able to narrow the angle by taking a single step is so small as to be insignificant. More important, to my way of thinking (and this is what I used to teach) is to choose where you think the player is going to put the kick and dive that way. Assuming the kick is going to be well taken and close to the corner, the further you can get across the goal towards the post, the better. To get the best sideways movement, it doesn't particularly help you to come off the line going forwards. Once goalkeepers get used to this, it might even arguably improve their chances.

I should also perhaps mention that in the past we used to get questions asking why referees were almost universally ignoring goalkeepers coming off the line, sometimes even by several feet. The blatant amounts of encroachment that keepers were getting away with, was something people used to complain about and obviously something the IFAB wanted to eliminate by this change. So it's perhaps a little ironic that they're now getting criticised for making changes to prevent it and then actually enforcing those changes. They could be excused for thinking that it's a case of 'damned if you do and damned if you don't.'

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Yves
Good observation.. Law14 was updated on the 1st June to allow a goalkeeper to move one foot off the line in a step rather than to keep both feet on the line. That change is now being enforced strictly. So far in the WC the encroachments that have had an effect on the outcome, that is the goalkeeper coming off the line for a save or a miss, has been punished with a caution and a retake. As the encroachment of outfield players with involvement has not happened so no other card has been necessary. I have seen huge improvement in the degree of encroachment since VAR. Without VAR it is not unusual to see players almost behind the kicker and the goalkeeper way off the line!
The Video Assistant Referee VAR has a strict protocol on penalty kicks and it is defined as follows
Quote **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.**
None of the above have happened yet!
It now appears to us that VAR is being used for goalkeeper encroachment and in some ways there is no escape from that technology. ARs are not flagging for the encroachment and it is being left to technology. The only interesting one for me was the retake of the France penalty v Nigeria. In the *spirit of the game* the GK was not blatantly off the line on what resulted in a miss rather than a save. I suppose that one of the issues with technology is that it can be black and white rather than factoring in the human part or the *spirit of the game*. I am absolutely certain that without VAR that would not have been called for a retake.
I wonder if those that have been calling for the strict enforcement of GKs coming off the line at PKs are happy with the current VAR approach?
I await with interest the first KFTPM in the tournament and the possibility of multiple cautions if GKs do not change their approach to movement.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Yves,
Just before I saw your question I had this discussion elsewhere.
I agree that it's unfair that the keeper suffers a YC and not the other players. Personally I think the retake is punishment enough - I just don't see the point in a card here. And you're right - either card all encroachment, or card none - especially given I regularly see outfield players level with the kicker by the time the kick is taken with no retake!

But, unfortunately it is mandatory right now.

It is interesting to note how the new law is actually more lenient than the old law (before the old law didn't permit any movement off the line, now it allows a foot off the line), yet is being enforced much, much more strictly.

And with that level of strictness, especially after the law has been largely ignored, it gets really tough on the keepers copping a card as well.

On the other hand, though, if the VAR doesn't apply a black-and-white interpretation, then at what point should the interfere? 6 inches? a foot? 2 feet? When? It's not easy.

If it's strict, then it better be consistent - I think people would accept that (although it doesn't make it any easier for grassroots referees!).

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