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Question Number: 31090

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 12/6/2016

RE: Rec High School

Paul Gordon of Tampa Bay, Florida USA asks...

I recently saw a clip of a soccer player taking a PK online

In the clip, after I assume the whistle has been blown, the player slowly walks up to the ball and bends down as if he were to pick up the ball and then kicks it quickly into the goal.

I have heard that this occurred during some kind of show-match, but according to the laws of the game, is this legal? It seems like the answer should be 'no' but I can't find anything that would disallow it.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
The decision rests on the mechanics here. If the conditions for the penalty kick have been fully met and the referee signals for the kick to be taken then I see nothing much wrong with the action. The Laws allow for feinting at a kick so one can opine that it is a feint. The player does not appear to stop and all that he has done is bend down as he kicks the ball. Certainly the two players entering the penalty area as the player runs up believe that the kick is going to be taken. If the referee was looking for an out clause then that premature entry of encroachment into the penalty area could be the reason for a retake!! I have seen more blatant encroachment ignored or missed.
Now if the referee was very fastidious he could opine that it is an illegal feint and that would have to result in a caution and an IDFK restart to the defending team. I personally cannot see that happening although it is in the opinion of the referee and in outlier situations an uncompromising *old school* referee might see it as illegal.
In the U.K. *Just isn*t cricket* is a phrase used for unsporting, unacceptable actions that do not respect the opponent. This comes from the game of cricket which is regarded as a gentlemans game were fairplay is paramount. As I said a referee could find a reason for a retake within the Laws in this particular example should he wish to do so. Not much the player could do other than retake it should the referee decide that.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Paul,
if the referee had signalled for the PK to begin I see nothing wrong with the kick itself, although the early movement into the area by the team mate has to be at least considered encroachment. Particularly as it dragged in a defender whose uncertainty created by the movement, if it was or was not recognized by the referee as encroachment the attacker is going to get to a rebound first if there was one. It is true we forgive a lot of encroachment if we believe it had no adverse effect on play in that sense the offence is often considered trifling, not doubtful as in it did not happen, simply it changed nothing about the expected outcome. Yet though it is a violation. I should point out from the FIFA perspective the unusual kicking motion is not looked upon as illegal, even if it is frowned upon. If our resident expert Joe Manjone NFHS from the USA high school states it is looked up on a an interruption of the kicking action in violation of the rules, best warn those taking high school PKs not to do it that way!
Cheers & Merry Christmas

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

High school and College play by rules, not laws, and according to Rule 14-1-4, once the kicker starts his/her approach to the ball, he/she may not interrupt his/her movement. Would you consider reaching down for the ball and interruption of movement? There was no stopping, yet, it is an interruption of the kicking movement as reaching to pick up the ball is not a natural kicking movement, and this is a penalty kick. I would rule it is illegal in high school play. I hope that your high school season is going well.

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