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Question Number: 31384

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 3/24/2017

RE: was a pro. Professional

andy elliot of palm coast, FL United States asks...

when did the rules for a penalty kick change? it used to be all players except the kicker and the goalkeeper only were to be inside the area until the ball was kicked. Now I see as many as 6 or 7 players inside. According to the rules almost every kick should be retaken. Am I missing something ?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Andy
Law 14 has not changed in respect that only the goalkeeper and kicker can be inside the penalty area until the kick is taken.
What has happened is that the law on encroachment had not been enforced strictly by referees in recent years and as a result only blatant encroachment is now called.
Many can recall the infamous penalty kick that was retaken multiple times for encroachment
I believe if the first kick had been allowed there would have been no issue from either team as the referee could have deemed any encroachment to be trifling in that situation.
What has also happened is that many referees have learned that the spirit of the laws is more important than its rote strict application and if say encroachment has had little to no effect of the PK many let it slide as trifling or doubtful. Retakes are now so rare that it now causes so much rancour that referees only deal with the most blatant of encroachment
Statistically I believe the conversion rates for PKs is up at 90% so encroachment by both sides is a retake on both a goal and a miss. If the encroachment was by the defending side only it is a goal and a retake if it is by the attacking side only. If the PK is missed it is an IDFK if the attacking team infringe only. Rarely is it by one side only.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Andy,
then again if they enforced the LOTG as it reads likely the encroachment would eventually stop! Heck, I watch them award goals for encroaching never mind retaking the kick. Trifling and doubtful are now, not truly foul and almost a miss. Sigh

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Andy,
I'm guessing that the beginning of your question is slightly rhetorical and you know (as you state later) that if the Laws were strictly applied, almost all penalty kicks these days should end up being retaken. However as it stands, the provision on encroachment at penalty kicks is probably one of the most frequently ignored parts of the Laws. I confess to not being totally sure why this is so but as Ref McHugh suggests, it may be seen by many referees as not having a serious enough effect on the outcome.

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