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Question Number: 34448

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 12/9/2021

RE: Fan Adult

Alexander Maxwell of London, — United Kingdom asks...

If he was trying to play mind games with the player taking the penalty, would it be legal for a goalkeeper to stand a feet or two behind the goaline when a penalty was being taken, or would the referee insist that he was on the pitch?

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Alexander,

The laws require the goalkeeper to be on the goal line - not off or behind.

So, if the keeper wants to stand behind the line, the referee is expected to not permit the kick until the keeper moves forwards.

It may seem like petty refereeing, but if a keeper is behind the line, then this would allow them to start moving forwards before the ball is kicked, to cross the line as the ball is kicked - giving them an earlier start and additional forward momentum to close down the angle.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alexander
The Laws of the Game requires that the defending goalkeeper must remain ON the goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts, without touching the goalposts, crossbar or goal net, until the ball has been kicked.

So a goalkeeper must be on the goal line at the set up for the penalty kick not behind it.

For what its worth my opinion is that a kicker will not be paying too much attention to feet position of the goalkeeper. The overall percentage of penalty kicks scored is high at around 90%. Statistically right footed kickers favour the goalkeepers right side while left footed favour the GK's left and most surprisingly only 2% go down the middle. I would say rather than mind games it is better to pick a side say for right footed kickers which for me would be to the right. Okay there will be ones where it looks like the goalkeeper has been sent the wrong way yet statistically more will go to that side and if a goalkeeper has picked right he has a better chance of getting to the ball.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Alexander,
The LOTG request that the keeper have at least 1 foot - ON - the goal line when the PK is taken! If there is not a foot on the line, technically, if the PK misses, the kick coud be retaken. The referee signals the PK to commence once satisfied all players are in compliance with the correct positioning. That could include a keeper on their line . If the keeper was horsing around I doubt the referee would intervene as long as the step out of the goal involved a foot on the goal line at the time the kick. Yet if the referee requested that the keeper move up on the goal line the keeper best comply.
Cheers & Merry Christmas

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Alexander,
Just to add to what my colleagues have already said about the current law, from next season it appears there will be a clarification issued that while the keeper is required to have at least one foot on or above the line when the kick is taken, a goalie is not to be penalised if they have one foot behind the line. So they could stand partly behind the line, but not completely.

This was announced as a recommendation at the recent IFAB annual business meeting.

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