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Question Number: 30123

Law 14 - Penalty kick 2/18/2016

RE: Professional

Charles Grantham of Vancouver, BC Canada asks...

Hey what do you guys think is this Pk unsporting?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Charles,
This was an exquisite example of the best team with the best players doing what their collective egos do best, collaborate on scoring goals. Suarez is not my favorite player or person but there is no denying his ability to put the ball in the back of the net especially being fed by the likes of Messi. I have to believe this was a set play and that possibly Neymar Jr was the intended recipient but Suarez being the opportunistic player he is, arrived suspiciously first.

I do not think USB is a serious consideration although there are certain teams with certain players in it such a trick play might invite retaliation. Egos being what they are! I am aware in the indoor Futsal LOTG: '...if the player taking the kick does not do so with the
intention of scoring a goal ... the referee awards an indirect free
kick...' thus no PK could be taken in such a manner as a pass off!

If there is any fallout here, it could center around the fact the Suarez was inside the penalty arc and perhaps a step over into the PA when Messi hit the ball forward. The end of the video shows this quite clearly. There was a defender on the opposite side who was in a similar position. This type of encroachment is often considered as trifling but it does highlight a divergence of the actually wording of LOTG to the actual implementation of the LOTG. The fact the goal scorer had infringed albeit slightly is food for though and a real concern for recreational interpretation.

My opinion only! Given Suarez did encroach and had major impact. No goal INDFK out. Yet both teams encroached so the PK could also be retaken. If Neymar had scored I would easily allow the goal to stand, ignore Suarez as trifling. It was not long ago the LOTG had addressed an encroaching attacking player who has NO impact on play could be ignored but if he DID impact play it was an INDFK out. This was in conflict with law 10 which stated a team could NOT infringe the LOTG prior to scoring a goal and was changed!
As I always like to point out, your match, your decision, your reputation. I have heard or seen nothing out of FIFA/IFAB declaring the referee needed to consider other options other than allowing the goal? So is that silence perhaps telling us something?

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Charles,

I don't see any possible reason for it to be considered unsporting. Passing at a PK is permitted by the Laws Of The Game, so if a player wants to do it, so be it. It's risky, but it's their choice.

As Ref Dawson states, it's a different law with Futsal, but Futsal has a number of different laws to try and force a particular style of game. So, the differing law there has no impact here.

The main concern here is that Suarez had encraoched by the full width of the penalty arc - that's a 4 yard encroachment, which is massive. The referee needed to pick this up, and order a retake given players from both teams had encroached.

What would be interesting is if Suarez hadn't encroached but was fouled by a defender as he's about to take the shot.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Charles
This play has been around for many years. Johann Cruff and Jesper Olsen did it in 1982
Here is an even older one
Belgium player Coppens made the first televised penalty pass goal against Iceland in the 1958 World Cup qualifiers
Now here is an example of how not to do it
Here is another one
Now in many of the examples the penalty kick was not taken in line with the correct procedure. There was blatant encroachment by the attacking team which should have resulted in a retake when a goal was scored.
It is not unsporting behaviour and it is of no concern to the referee if the kick is a pass or a shot. Some felt that Messi and Suarez were disrespectful to the opponents and that is a matter of opinion. Some got very animated about it and that was almost a bigger story than the PK. Also being disrespectful, if one considers it that, is not in itself unsporting behaviour. Im personally indifferent to it. Is a nutmeg disrespectful? Some will say yes will others will say no way and good skill to attempt it and execute it. As long as the play is legal, does not infringe the laws it is not USB.
I remember when throwing the ball of the back off an opponent at a throw in was seen as unsporting behaviour. Some still believe that it is yet it is now allowed for under the laws.
Was it disrespectful ? As stated it is certainly now allowed for under the Laws so the lawmakers say that it is not unsporting behaviour.
I like to refer to these incidents as just not cricket. Since good behaviour in cricket is traditionally deemed the sine qua non of a gentleman and always expected of players it has led to the saying, *It's not cricket* an English language phrase meaning unsportsmanlike conduct in sports, in business, or in life in general. Neither Messi or Suarez I suspect are bothered whether is was ungentlemanly behaviour or not.
I'm just bothered that the referee did not pull them up for encroachment.

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