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Question Number: 32517

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 6/17/2018

RE: Professional

Scott of Livermore, CA USA asks...

In the Argentina v. Iceland game Messi missed a PK and the CR had his back to the kick as he gave direction to the other players. I'm not certain, but based on his position and body language I doubt if he had blown his whistle. If that was the case, I know technically the kick should have been retaken. Given the save, did the CR do the right thing? What if the attacking player who was able to get to the ball first was able to convert, then what would you do? I'm thinking the CR got lucky.

The play occurs at 1:20 in the link

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Scott
All the videos do not show that split second before the camera switches to show the referee and the kick. However the whistle can be clearly heard on videos that I have seen just before the referee is shown with his hands raised towards the players. Messi would know not to proceed without hearing the whistle and that is what transpired. So no issue with the whistle as it was sounded.
On the focus of the referees attention and his positioning / body language it is unusual and one that is not recommended in regular games. Clearly at this WC the FIFA Refereeing Department wants to stop blatant encroachment at penalty kicks so I suspect referees have been told to position more towards the penalty area line and to present a clear deterrent through positioning and to watch for encroachment. I suspect as well that with Video Assistant Refereeing VAR that referees have been told that other matters can and are being be looked at by the VAR central control room plus the use of goal line technology allows the Referees and ARs to focus less on the goal line just on encroachment. The referees wrist device will alert him to a goal.
So far there has been little blatant encroachment by both goalkeepers and players which plainly shows that it is working.
What should not happen is that grassroots referees, without all the technology here, should mirror what is happening at this level. That is not advisable yet referees should continue to look at the kick which includes the kicker, the goalkeeper and keep a glancing eye on blatant encroachment. So in many ways nothing has changed for 99.9% of referees.
As one senior group referee said many years ago that referees would be well served not to mimic or pay attention to professional referees as it is totally different in many respects. Even in this WC it is clear that referees have been told to reduce the number of caution cards as there are many examples of cards not being shown for what would normally be a certain card at any level and also for ARs not to flag on tight offside decisions as VAR will pick it up. Throw in referee positioning at penalty kicks which are all tournament specific mechanics.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Scott,
If you are able to find a full replay of the game (I was able to get it in the UK using BBC iPlayer) there is a clear whistle from the referee, at 63m 02s elapsed game time (just before the clip you reference starts). So the rest of your question becomes moot.

I would have to say that it would be almost incomprehensible for a referee at this level not to have blown the whistle before a penalty is taken. Apart from anything else, if you watch the players, they are all fully aware that they have to wait for the referee to give the appropriate signal and you can see the players standing there waiting, often looking fixedly at the referee, waiting for the whistle. Even at youth level where I used to coach, our players were all cognizant of having to wait for the referee's whistle at a penalty kick - we used to drum it into them.

So the idea that both a top-level FIFA referee and a world class international player would somehow forget or ignore the Laws in this way strains the bounds of credulity - and as I said, it just didn't happen that way.

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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

If the player kicks the ball before the referee signals with the whistle, and the correct action would be to order a rekick regardless of the outcome. I have noticed the referees at the top level seem to stay focused on the possibility of encroachment by the players on a penalty kick. Many times the referee barely turns to see the player kick the ball and I sometimes wonder who is going to deal with the possibility of illegal feinting. My guess is that this is discussed in the pregame with the assistant referee and each of them takes different responsibilities. As far as that check was concerned, I will believe that the referees gave him the go ahead signal in there was a slight whistle.

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