I have looked at the recent change to the Laws of the Game concerning Law 14 – the Penalty Kick, with some concern.

Basically I think the change in the Procedure for Law 11, as stated in the Interpretations of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees is unsound and incorrect in Law.

Law 14 states that the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward.

Anything which happens before the ball is kicked can be punished according to the Laws of the Game but the procedure to restart the game cannot be changed,

If a player feints before he kicks the ball at a penalty kick he must be cautioned according to the new interpretation but what cannot be changed is the restart of the game since the infringement occurred before the ball was in play.

As has been stated above, the ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward

No matter the outcome of the kick – goal or no goal – the kick should be retaken since the ball was not in play when the offence occurred.

This is different from the situation when a player encroaches into the penalty area at the taking of a penalty kick.

The offence occurs immediately the ball is kicked and should be punished accordingly. I believe the punishment should be an indirect free kick to the defending team if the offence is committed by the attacking team, no matter the result of the kick, a goal (or a retake if the kick is missed) if the offence is committed by the defending team and a retake if both teams encroach.

This would at least tackle encroachment – one of the major problems of Law 14 – even it will not always solve it.

The other problem to be dealt with is the goalkeeper moving from his line. If the Law now punishes the kicker who feints before he kicks the ball, it should also punish the goalkeeper who moves forward before the ball is kicked with an automatic caution for unsporting behaviour.

Surely in a penalty kick situation when the offence has been committed by the defending team, it is wrong to introduce sanctions against the attacking team, while not recognising that the most common offences are encroachment by both teams and the goalkeeper moving off his line before the kick is taken.

Feinting before the ball is kicked is much less common than these two offences but for some reason this is the offence which the IFAB has chosen to target.

Some fair play and common sense are needed here!

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