The International FA Board, founded in 1986, was the first international football body to be set up and continues to fulfil its role as the guardian of the Laws of the Game.

Only the IFAB – not FIFA, a confederation or a federation – can make changes to the Laws.

Throughout its history it has been a conservative yet forward looking body, willing to make change when it was necessary but avoiding making massive changes which could affect the whole ethos and control of the game.  It very seldom gets things wrong.

This year, however, I believe it has made a mistake with the penalising of a player who feints with his foot while in the act of kicking a penalty kick. A player may feint in his run up but not when kicking the ball.

My understanding is that if a goal is scored from the penalty kick after the player has feinted in the act of kicking, the kick is retaken and the player is cautioned but if a goal is not scored an indirect free kick is awarded and the player is also cautioned.

This is wrong in basic Law since although the player is being punished for an offence which was committed when the ball is out of play, which is perfectly correct, the restart is being changed.

A restart cannot be changed because of an offence which was committed when the ball is not in play.

I do not have a problem with an indirect free kick being awarded against an attacking player who encroaches when a penalty is being taken since the offence occurs immediately the ball is kicked forward and therefore is in play.

I question however whether it is consistent to order a retake if the goal is scored but restart the match with an indirect free kick when no goal is scored.

To be consistent, any encroachment by the attacking team, no matter whether a goal is scored or not, should be penalised by an indirect free kick. This would also dramatically reduce the amount of encroachment at penalty kicks.

A retake would only be ordered if a player from each team encroached.

Finally if we are going to deal with problems at penalty kicks we must also punish the goalkeeper who moves forward off his line before the ball is kicked and caution him for unsporting behaviour – a return to a previous application of Law 14.

There is a danger we are becoming too complicated on this matter.

Let’s keep it simple!

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