The penalty is a familiar concept for football fans around the world. However, the truth is not everyone understands the rules of penalty kicks in football. So what is a penalty? When is a penalty kick awarded? How is a penalty kick taken? Let’s find out the details in this article.
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What is a penalty?
Penalty, also known as an 11-meter kick or a penalty kick, is a type of free kick in football. The position of this free kick is 11 meters away from the goal line and the defending team’s goalkeeper.
A penalty kick involves only one attacking player (the penalty taker) and the defending team’s goalkeeper. Due to the close distance to the goal and the large size of the goalposts, a penalty kick is a great opportunity to score a goal.
That’s why when taking a penalty kick, the player often experiences intense psychological pressure to score. This explains why top world-class stars like Messi sometimes miss penalties (have to deal with tremendous pressure).
With a penalty kick, even an unknown player can score against a world-class goalkeeper. To execute a penalty kick successfully, the player taking the kick needs to have a strong and confident mentality.
Latest rules of penalty kick
- A team is awarded a penalty kick if an opposing player commits one of the direct free kick fouls while the ball is in play.
- From the penalty kick, the ball is kicked directly towards the goal of the team that committed the foul, and if it goes into the goal, a goal is awarded.
- If a penalty kick is awarded in the last minute of each half or during extra time, additional time is added to complete the penalty kick.
Ball placement and players
a. The ball is placed at the penalty spot.
b. The penalty taker must be clearly notified.
c. The defending team’s goalkeeper:
- Stands on the goal line between the goalposts, facing the penalty taker until the ball is kicked.
d. Other players:
- Stand inside the field, outside the penalty area.
- Behind the penalty spot.
- Minimum 5 meters away from the penalty spot.
Procedure of penalty kick
- The penalty taker must kick the ball forward.
- No player is allowed to touch the ball again until it has been touched by another player.
- The ball is in play after it has been kicked and moved forward.
When a penalty kick is taken during the two halves, extra time, during the added time to complete the penalty kick, or when retaking a penalty kick, a goal is awarded if the ball touches the goalposts, crossbar, or the defending goalkeeper before crossing the goal line between the goalposts and beneath the crossbar.
Violations and punishments
a. Violation by the player of the team that committed the foul:
- Penalty kick is retaken if the ball does not go into the goal.
- Goal is awarded if the ball goes into the goal.
b. Violation by a teammate of the penalty taker:
- Penalty kick is retaken if the ball goes into the goal.
- Penalty kick is not retaken if the ball does not go into the goal.
c. Violation by the penalty taker after the ball has been kicked into play:
- The opposing team is awarded an indirect free kick.
When is a penalty kick awarded?
With the intervention of VAR technology, modern football nowadays sees numerous penalty kicks. Below are some basic situations that can lead to a penalty kick:
- A player trips or tries to impede an opponent.
- A player kicks or deliberately attempts to kick an opponent.
- A player jumps into an opponent.
- A player strikes or intentionally tries to strike an opponent.
- A player spits at an opponent.
- A player bullies or presses an opponent.
- A player elbows an opponent.
- A player pushes or pulls an opponent.
- A player deliberately handles the ball (except for the goalkeeper using hands to catch the ball within their own penalty area).
Regulations when taking a penalty kick
Although penalty kicks are usually straightforward, there are still clear regulations. Here are the rules to follow when taking a penalty kick:
- The player taking the penalty kick must be listed in the team’s lineup and confirmed by the referee.
- The penalty kick is taken from a spot located 11 meters away from the goal line. This spot is equidistant from the two goalposts. All players must stand at least 9.15 meters away from the penalty spot.
- The player taking the penalty kick can be any player from the team, not just the player who was fouled, and their participation must be confirmed by the referee. The goalkeeper must position themselves on the goal line between the goalposts, facing the ball until it is kicked. The goalkeeper is only allowed to move horizontally.
- According to the current Laws of the Game, if the goalkeeper moves forward before the ball is kicked, the penalty kick is retaken if a goal has not been scored.
How to take a penalty
A penalty kick is taken after the referee’s whistle, and a goal is awarded when the ball crosses the goal line between the goalposts, having rolled beyond the penalty area. The ball is in play once it has been kicked and moved forward, and at this point, other players are allowed to enter the penalty area and continue playing as usual.
In most cases of penalty kicks, once the kick has been taken, the goal has been scored, and the ball has gone out of the goal line or has been controlled by the goalkeeper.
Penalty kicks can be taken in two ways:
Standard penalty kick
- The ball is placed at the spot 11 meters away from the goal, equidistant from the goalposts. All players must stand at least 9.15 meters away from the penalty spot.
- The player taking the penalty kick can be any player from the team, and their participation must be confirmed by the referee. The goalkeeper must stand in the middle of the goal line on the goal line, facing the ball. The goalkeeper is allowed to move horizontally.
- The penalty kick is taken after the referee’s whistle, and a goal is awarded when the ball crosses the goal line. No player can touch the ball again before another player has touched it.
- If the goalkeeper moves forward before the ball is kicked, the penalty kick is retaken if a goal has not been scored.
Coordinated penalty kick
- Apart from the standard penalty kick, two players can also coordinate to take the penalty kick. In this case, the first player, instead of kicking directly towards the goal, gently pushes the ball forward, and the second player can run in and strike the ball to score.
- Like other players, the second player still needs to stand at least 9.15 meters away from the goal. This tactic relies on surprise to allow the second player to strike the ball before the defenders.
The coordinated penalty kick was first recognized when Jimmy McIlroy and Danny Blanchflower of the Northern Ireland team executed it against Portugal on May 1, 1957.