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Question Number: 35081

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 8/25/2023

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34448

Hi, I was watching a 55+ game today and when a PK was taken, I used my camera (in motor drive) to capture the sequence.

The keeper made a nice save but on replay, his left foot was clearly standing a stride forward of the line before the ball had been kicked.

I had a chat with the reffing team after and they were all smiles that they had been right in demanding a new kick... which went in.

The scored-on team won 3-1 anyway, so no big deal, but the keeper insisted that HE was right, as he only had to have ONE foot on the line at the time of the kick.

I countered: "So you can start the process by having one foot standing in the field of play before the kick?" He felt that yes, this was allowed.

My reading of LAW 14 doesn't clear things up, though intuitively it sounds wrong that he could be standing in such a way.

Please help!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
Good to hear from you.
Law 14 tells us 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. That means two feet on the line at the set up. Once the signal is given and as the kicker can ‘stutter’ in the run, it is reasonable that the goalkeeper can take one step in anticipation of the kick yet must have one foot on the line at the moment of the kick.

Law 14 tells us that when the ball is kicked, the defending goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot touching, in line with, or behind, the goal line
Previously, the goalkeeper was required to have part of at least one foot on/above the goal line at the moment when a penalty kick (or kick from the penalty mark) was taken.
Consequently, if the goalkeeper had one foot in front of the goal line and one behind it, this was technically an offence even though no unfair advantage is gained.
IFAB amended the text of Law 14 recently to avoid such a position being penalised. Explanation of this amendment should emphasise that the ‘spirit’ of the Law requires the goalkeeper to have both feet on/above the line until the moment when the kick is taken, i.e. the goalkeeper may not stand behind (or in front of) the goal line.

In your scenario the goalkeeper should have been advised to start with both feet on the line and at the moment of the kick could then have moved one foot off the line in anticipation of direction of the ball. Obviously starting one foot off the line before the kick makes it probable that any movement forward will have both feet off the line at the moment of the kick which makes it encroachment .

So all the referee has to do is advise that BOTH feet are on the line before the kick at set up and as long as ONE foot is on the line at the moment of the kick that is perfectly legal.
FWIW my advice to ARs is that as long as the goalkeeper is a step from the goal line that is okay as we don't have VAR to determine the exact position of a foot at the moment the ball is played. I always looked for a second step forward. The reason the law was changed originally to the one step / foot was to react to what was happening in the game and to give a goalkeeper a sporting chance of a save.
Most saves that are made are generally from poorly taken penalties and unless the goalkeeper was blatantly off the line with a few steps forward narrowing the angle I rarely if ever went with a retake.
I was also consistent as the only real observer of that is an AR except on penalty kicks where the same latitude is given to both GKs

In this still frame which comes from the World Cup final the England goalkeeper Mary Earps is seen moving one foot off the line at the moment of the kick which was reviewed by VAR. The save was perfectly legal as she started with both feet on the line and then made a move with one step to anticipate direction of the ball.

Another image shows the goalkeeper’s trail leg up in the air off the line yet still above the goal line which also made it legal.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Barry,
in the preliminary set up Keeper is to be on the goal line as the kicker once identified, ball placed correctly players not encroaching as of yet! lol The signal to begin is given by the referee.

Once the whistle goes, a highly RECOMMENDED starting procedure to avoid issues! I generally hand the ball to the player to allow them to place the ball but before I do I look them in the eye & say we go on my whistle while I point at it & get an affirmative nod, yes etc.

The player will begin their run up towards the ball. The keeper is anticipating what kick is headed their way. Given the kicker can adjust his run up with hops and stutter steps the keeper is also permitted to move, with only 1 restriction, one foot must be partially in that 5 inch area under the crossbar or within the netted area at the time the actual kick is taken and the ball moves. They can be dancing and stepping out as long as that one criteria is met, the other foot can be well out in front of the goal line.

It is impractical to think the keeper must remain motionless to react to ball swerving or moving at over a 100 miles an hour. Given a player must at least put the ball on target, when they sky it or go wide we tend to look at slightly iffy movement by the keeper as inconsequential, same as players encroaching. It is when a save is made or the angle of the kicker was affected by what and where the keeper chose to restrict is when we are retaking the miss or save .

I was appalled last year at a ladies match when a keeper dove left, kicker goes right, hits post and defects out for a goal kick and the AR flagged for off the line and the CR retook . She saves the 2nd as it was a weak PK but again AR flags she was off . Sigh She had stepped out and her back foot from MY vantage point was perhaps slightly over but in the air. and the again a retake. They scored the third time but, in my opinion, horrible, horrible decisions, affecting the outcome!

The SAD fact it was a PK for handling and AGAIN from my vantage point it bounced up off her elbow as she turned ANOTHER horrible decision. I think that the handling UNLESS it is a blatant save to stop a ball from crossing the goal line should be at MOST an INDFK! Sorry looks like I got off topic Cheers

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,
I think the important question here is not so much where one of the keeper's feet was just before the kick was taken, but where both his feet were when the ball was kicked.

Now, because the law says,"The defending goalkeeper must remain on the goal line ... until the ball is kicked", then as a matter of practicality and possibly just tradition (because for so long the keeper did have to keep both feet on the line right up until the moment of the kick) it is still the case that in preparation for the kick the referee will ensure that the goalkeeper is back on the goal line with their feet on the line before signalling for the player to take the kick.

However, the law tells us that when the ball is actually kicked, the goalkeeper need only have "at least part of one foot touching, in line with, or behind the goal line." It is worth noting that when the IFAB first introduced the law change saying that the goalie did not have to have both feet on the line when the ball is kicked they added the following, in the explanation of the change:

"As the kicker can ‘stutter’ in the run, it is reasonable that the goalkeeper can take one step in anticipation of the kick."

So based on this, although at the very start of the penalty kick procedure the referee will get the keeper fully back on the goal line, under the law as currently written it is permissible for the keeper to have one foot in front of the line when the kick is taken (so long as the other foot remains on, above or behind the line).

So in the incident that you are describing, even if the goalkeeper had one foot clearly in front of the line just before the kick, so long as at least one foot was on, above, or behind the line at the actual moment the ball was kicked then the keeper has not infringed the law.

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