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Question Number: 32270

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 3/3/2018

Chuck Love of syracuse, new york usa asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32664

Thx to all who replied thoughtfully to my earlier query. However those answers only frustrated me more. I understand letting very marginal calls go, yet many aren't marginal at all but gross violations, easily seen. So why is there such a seemingly casual acceptance of not enforcing this particular rule? There was an incident earlier this year involving Real Madrid away at I Forgot Who FC (Betis maybe?). The home team was awarded a penalty, but it was saved by the GK. However the GK was clearly, even in real time (no pun intended), at least 2 yds off his line when the ball was played. He was actually closer to the 6 than the GL. The play stood, and the match ended 2-2. Now any one-off can be explained by 'the ref made a bad call' (it happens), but couple this incident, and others, w/ Walton's comments, and it's clear that turning a blind eye to this type of clear violation is not only accepted, but even encouraged, and that to me is incomprehensible. These are crucial points in any game that are being affected unfairly by the referee, potentially altering the outcome. Hopefully with VAR these types of calls will be ruled correctly in the future.

A follow-up to my follow-up :). Maybe an analogy can better illustrate my frustration.
In regards to Peter Walton's 'considerable leeway' comment, he would never say refs allow such leeway for offsides calls. I really don't see the difference between a yard or 2 offsides and a yard or 2 of GK encroachment. Yet one is always (well almost always) enforced, and the other rarely is, seemingly willfully. Again I'm not talking about tight, marginal decisions, but rather clear, bright-as-day ones. Enforce all the bloody laws, not a select few. This goes for illegal throw-ins, 6 sec on GK possession, stationary FK balls, and other oft-ignored rules too. Viva VAR. Thx again.
Again thank you to this forum and all posters.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Chuck
Have a look at this video.
Do you think this helped the game?
Also if you looked again at the Real Madrid game you will not see one complaint from the players. Most players believe that the reason penalties are saved is because of poor kicks rather than blatant encroachment. I believe the kick may have been against Celia Vigo and I have looked at it. It looks to me that the GK is about one pace off the line at the moment of the kick. That is with the benefit of freeze frame. So yes technically it was an infringement yet the question for referees and assistant is to whether it was blatant and obvious. Couple that now with the decision for a retake is that the GK must be cautioned and one can see why it is a very big call as it then was a sending off.
I think most referees see this change to part of Law 14 as too onerous and it has developed into a situation where referees see most encroachment as doubtful or trifling. I expect that Peter Waltons comments may be aimed at trying to effect change in a law that is plainly not working
Once you start on a zero tolerance cruscade there are many other laws that are not fully implemented as written such as position of throw ins, shielding of the ball that is not within playing distance going over the goal line, pushing and pulling at free kicks, corner kicks, game timing, six second rule, excessive goal celebrations, lengthy substitution in added time etc. I probably could go on some of which are pet peeves for many.
I like to use the analogy of speeding tickets. If a police officer jumped out of his car to stop a car doing 32 in a 30 mph zone to issue a speeding ticket what would be the drivers reaction? Correct in Law yet... I believe that even speeding electronic equipment has some wiggle room on margin of error on the equipment.
So referees give some wriggle room on movement. The issue rests on how much wriggle room to allow and that is a subjective decision. I recall one referee who was obsessed with foul throws. Every single game had multiple foul throws for all sorts. If it was not your 100% looking throw it got turned over which riled many players. Indeed many disliked his officiating for that reason.
I also say that if the laws were enforced as written most games would descend into unpleasant affairs some perhaps not even getting finished.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Chuck,
You say, 'it's clear that turning a blind eye to this type of clear violation is not only accepted, but even encouraged'. I'd have to say I don't agree with this assertion and I'm not quite sure where you're getting this from. Certainly nobody on this site is encouraging it and although I haven't been able to find the interview you mention, I doubt that Peter Walton was either. Rather, as ref McHugh suggests, he may have been flagging up a part of the law that is not working as intended.

I'm sorry if the previous answers frustrated you but I'm a little puzzled as to why. You asked us to shed some light as to why it might be that some referees are acting this way and I think we attempted to do that. None of us condoned the idea of not calling blatant offences but as per your request, we tried to give an insight into the possible thought processes involved. We also pointed out that in many cases, the offences are not as blatant as you seem to be implying.

Looking at your last point about always calling all offences of whatever nature, I am reminded of the renowned IFAB decision 8 to Law 5. Although it was removed from the Laws a while ago, many think that this was only because it was a well-enough accepted principle and sufficiently widely, known, that it didn't need to be spelled out and that its principles should continue to inform the actions of referees.

In fact a slightly modified version of it made its way into FIFA's refereeing development program materials and goes as follows:

''The Laws of the Game are intended to ensure that games are played with as little interference as possible. Constant whistling for minor and dubious infringements may cause bad feeling and anger from players and spectators.''

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