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Question Number: 32513

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 6/16/2018

RE: Adult

Nik of Moscow, Moscow Russia asks...


My question is about penalties (law 14).

It says 'The defending goalkeeper must remain on the goal line <...>'
What does this exactly means?
Can he stand a little ahead of the goal line, just touching it with his heels? Can he lean forward? Can he make a step with one foot, remaining other foot at the goal line?

Where I can find explanation of this 'remain on the goal line' terminology in FIFA Laws of the Game?


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Nik
There is no detailed explanation other than what it says in your quote and the referees interpretation. For all referees it is understood that the goalkeeper must have any part of both feet touching any part of the goalline. The goalkeeper can be leaning forward or in any direction.
In reality referees and assistants are somewhat generous to goalkeepers at penalty kicks and at speed it is not so easy to be precise about the exact position of the goalkeepers feet at the moment of the kick. Many referees will allow a little movement forward as long as it is not excessive.
To save a decent penalty kick there has to be some movement and goalkeepers know that they have to be on the move at or just before the kick. Having said that most penalties that are missed are poorly taken so movement is not the key factor but rather direction and poor strength of kick.
Now I notice in the World Cup a tightening up of encroachment and I suspect that Video Assistant Referee technology is assisting here as a referee could review encroachment on a missed penalty. Players have been told this from the reactions I have seen so far. I watched the Lionel Messi penalty closely and if there was encroachment it was insignificant and therefore seen as trifling and doubtful. The same on the Peru missed penalty. Neither side could have any complaint about those misses. It will be interesting when we get to Kicks from the Penalty Mark later in the tournament.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Nik,
You will not find any detailed explanation in the IFAB's Laws of the Game as to what the phrase ''must remain on the goal line'' means exactly - or various other phrases, for that matter.

This is where the wording in Law 5 comes in, which says that:

''Decisions will be made to the best of the referee's ability according to the Laws of the Game and the 'spirit of the game' and will be based on the opinion of the referee who has the discretion to take appropriate action within the framework of the Laws of the Game.''

So basically it's up to the referee to decide how to interpret the law. It's certainly true that as ref McHugh mentions, most referees seem to have a somewhat liberal interpretation of what constitutes 'remaining on the line' and will allow a certain amount of forward motion to occur without penalising it. I have also noticed that in the current World Cup, referees seem to be issuing strict instructions to the players before each penalty kick, to abide by the restrictions on encroachment, both for outfield players and goalkeepers.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

Typically it is well understood amongst the referee community, that the keeper must have both feet on the goal line until the ball is kicked. The other time this will come in the play is for indirect free kick's in the penalty area that are closer than 10 yards from the goal line. The defending team can be on the goal line between the posts if they wish. But once again both feet must be on the goal line until the ball is been kicked.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

the goal line is a 5 inch wide line, a size 13 boot is likely over 12 inches long so if a tip of toe to edge of back line or from heel to front edge we have a 28 to 36 inch spread of a legally taken keeper position between the pipes and under the crossbar where a portion of his foot is in contact with a portion of the goal line!

A keeper is denied the right to move off his goal line UNTIL the ball is kicked & moved . However in the kicking motion there is a brief transition state of the ball leaving the foot as the keeper tries to time his outward movement. SO a step out towards the ball as it is leaving the foot is generally permitted!

It has been obvious to me so far the referees are communicating PK procedures directly to the players/keepers on the FOP as per the pregame discussion held in advance of this World CUP. There was a directive to clamp down on the excessive movement of players encroaching into the PK area as well as the keeper coming off his line too early.

Despite this directive it is still ITOOTR as to whether there is encroachment or not! If it is significant the call needs to be made as per the LOTG directive! However, if it is deemed uncertain or as trifling or doubtful where in the opinion of the referee the result is fair & just it can be accepted .

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