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Question Number: 29366

Law 14 - Penalty kick 4/28/2015

RE: Adult

Pat Dunne of Dublin, Ireland asks...

Hi ref could you tell me the situation regarding the penalty mark.
Recently I attended a game where a penalty was awarded to one team and the penalty kicker objected to where the penalty was to be taken from as he said the penalty mark was scuffed and uneven and wanted to place the ball in a different position but the referee objected to this and told him to place the ball on the mark irregardless of it's condition and that's where the penalty is to be taken from.Some people seem to think that if the penalty mark is damaged they can move it left or right of the mark to take it but my understanding is even if the penalty mark is in a pool of water that's where it's taken from.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Pat,
Your understanding is correct. The laws stipulate where the penalty mark is - and if that's not a desirable spot then that's just unfortunate. At a Penalty Kick a few centimetres can make a critical difference, which is why the player can't just move the ball to the side, back or forwards.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Pat,
you are spot on as they say! The referee can not be swayed by the player's request no matter if it seems reasonable.
The pk spot is a fixed point 12 yards out mid goal. An astute referee will walk the pitch pregame and perhaps recognize the condition as less than satisfactory and seek to have it altered to a more presentable state. Once a match is underway the correction to the spot is limited as it must be exactly the same for both teams throughout to be fair. At the taking of a PK, present the kicker with the ball, look him or her in the eye and ask they do not go until signaled it is ok. The player is permitted to place the ball under our critical eye but it must cover the spot usually covering about a 5 inch square the same width as the field boundary lines
In a match to be decided with KFTPM I have allowed the best PK end to be altered if it was deteriorated during the match prior to the kicks beginning. I have officiated on dirt and gravel field where lines are indistinct and grass fields so muddy if you lost a shoe, you might not find it. A far cry from the pitch perfect conditions enjoyed at the elite level.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Pat
Law 14 states that the ball must be placed on the penalty mark. What does ON mean? It means that part of the ball must be touching part of the white mark.
Unfortunately many grounds have damaged penalty marks due to constant wear, use of paint and as a result it can be difficult to position the ball so that it is not in a depression and on the mark. That means that the ball cannot be placed to the side or behind so as to avoid this.

As a referee I try to head off such issues by paying particular attention to the penalty marks. I have before games asked that very rough penalty marks be filled with sand/soil and remarked with paint to make a level surface It is certainly sufficient in the short term to get over any ball placement or safety concerns.
I would also say that there is huge difference between a scuffed, rough penalty mark and one that is a full of water. I think the referee would have to find a solution to the waterlogged penalty mark and area Prevention is always better than cure.

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