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Question Number: 31268

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 2/16/2017

RE: Professional

kidane of Asmara, Eritrea Eritrea asks...

My Question is regarding Penalty kick.

why is that a penalty kick is is allowed to be kicked backwards.Instead it is allowed to be kicked forward to a team mate.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kidane
Ours is not to question why just to implement the Laws. In most instances the penalty kick is a shot at goal. The only time it would be kicked as a pass would be some sort of play to deceive the opponents.
There is also a view that the defending team has to have a sporting chance to save the ball. Law 14 is framed to allow that chance to happen which includes that the kick must be forward as a shot at goal. I also think by allowing the ball to go backwards brings in all sorts of complications that the game can do without. The old kick off was a case in point. The ball had to go forward whereas now it does not. With the passage of a very long time it is difficult as Referee Grove points out to understand the reasoning for the inclusion of direction.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Kidane,
When that part came out, I thought the LOTG was referring to a player facing away from goal was using his back heel to catch keeper unprepared ! lol I actually saw a goal scored using that method and thought that does not seem right, yet it was permitted! Sigh

The PK is the ONLY free kick left that according to the LOTG MUST move forward now that a kick off can go backwards. Whether they decide to change it is anyone's guess. But given encroachment issues and the idea that trickery is not really what they want to promote perhaps this will remain as it is!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Kidane,
I assume your question is meant to be why a penalty is NOT allowed to be kicked backwards. It is difficult to be absolutely sure since at the time of the original introduction of this requirement back in 1901, the minutes of the IFAB meetings did not routinely give a reason for each amendment (as they started to do later on) but I suspect it is along the lines of what ref McHugh states, and is to do with the concepts of fair play, the spirit of the game etc.

Not a very satisfactory answer perhaps but not having been present at the meeting where this wording was introduced and being unable to question the people involved at the time, the best we can do here is speculate as to the exact reasoning involved.

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