What Is Penalty Kick ( Rule 14) In Football

In this article we analyze what is also defined among football fans as “the maximum punishment”, the penalty kick.

This method of resuming the game is nothing more than the consequence of an infringement which by regulation should be punished with a direct free kick but which, having been committed by the defending team within its own penalty area, becomes football penalty in favor of the opponents.

There are other cases in which a penalty kick is awarded and they concern episodes in which an offense is committed off the pitch. Such eventualities have already been dealt with in the articles dedicated to rules 12 and 13.

The natural function of the penalty kick is obviously to allow a team the possibility of being able to shoot directly into the opponent’s goal to score a goal from a predetermined distance, without game contrasts and having the opposing goalkeeper as the only obstacle.

The player responsible for taking the penalty kick is without prejudice to the possibility of being able to pass the ball to a teammate instead of kicking directly into the goal but, in any case, some requirements must be met. To better understand what these requirements are and what the consequences of failure to comply with them may be, we analyze the procedure and possible infringements and sanctions.

The procedure

For the correct execution of a penalty kick, the regulation provides that the ball is positioned and remains stationary on the penalty spot, which is 11 meters from the goal line. It is not allowed to place the ball in a spot close to the penalty spot for any reason, including atmospheric events (e.g. ground loosened by rain).

The referee must be informed which player will be in charge of taking the penalty kick while the goalkeeper of the defending team must remain on the goal line, inside the goalposts, facing the shooter until the ball is been kicked. The goalkeeper is allowed to move or perform gestures aimed at confusing or distracting the opposing player in charge of taking the penalty kick but always remaining positioned inside the goalposts and on the goal line.

All other players must position themselves at least 9.15 meters from the ball (for this purpose the regulation requires that the circumference arc be drawn outside the penalty area), behind the point of the penalty kick and outside the of the penalty area.

Once all the players are correctly positioned and only after the referee’s whistle, the player taking the penalty kick must kick the ball, even with the heel of the foot, but always forward. The ball will be considered in play as soon as it has moved clearly but cannot be touched again by the player who took the penalty kick before it has been touched by another player.

By the same token, if following the penalty kick, the ball hits one of the goalposts or the crossbar and returns to the same player who took the penalty kick, he will not be able to play it again. The tenor of the rule also allows a teammate of the player responsible for taking the penalty kick to enter the penalty area when the ball is in play and kick the ball into the goal.

The penalty kick is considered completed when the ball stops moving or goes out of play or the referee stops play for any infraction of the rules.

However, it may happen that the referee grants a penalty kick when the playing time is running out or has already expired: in this case , recovery must be granted for the penalty kick to be taken and completed.

In the latter case, the penalty kick is considered completed when the ball stops moving, leaves the pitch, is touched by any other player (including the one who took the shot) other than the defending goalkeeper or if the referee has game interrupted due to some irregularity committed by a member of the team who took the penalty.

If any player on the defending team commits an infringement and the goal is not scored, the penalty kick must be retaken.

Infringements and sanctions

To analyze the infractions and the respective sanctions, it is necessary to distinguish first of all two different moments in time, i.e. the irregularities committed before the penalty kick was taken (ball not in play) and those committed after the ball was kicked and moved clearly. forward (ball in play).

Offenses committed with the ball not in play have different consequences that depend on the subjects who put them in place:

  • if the player taking the penalty kick or a teammate breaks the Laws of the Game and the ball enters the goal, the penalty kick must be repeated, while if the ball does not enter the goal the referee must stop play award an indirect free kick to the defending team. However, there are exceptions for which play must be stopped and an indirect free kick awarded to the defending team, regardless of whether a goal is scored or not, and concern the following cases:
    1. penalty thrown backwards;
    2. penalty taken by a teammate of the identified player to take the penalty kick (the player taking the shot must be cautioned);
    3. when the player who has to take the penalty kick, after completing the run (during which a feint is allowed), takes a swing when kicking the ball (also in this case the player is cautioned).
  • if the Laws of the Game are broken by the goalkeeper or his teammate, on the other hand, the goal must be awarded if the ball enters the goal, while if the ball does not enter the goal, the penalty kick must be repeated. an impropriety is the goalkeeper, he must also be cautioned);
  • if one or more players of each team infringes the Laws of the Game, the penalty kick must be retaken regardless of the result of the shot, unless a player commits a more serious offense (for example if he makes an illegal feint);
  • if the offense is committed by both the goalkeeper and the shooter and the goal is not scored, the penalty kick must be repeated and both players must be cautioned; while if the goal is scored, it must not be validated and, after having warned the player who took the shot, the game must be restarted with an indirect free kick.

Even for infringements committed after the ball has been kicked, it is necessary to distinguish the subjects involved, as they correspond to different consequences and in particular:

  • If the player who took the penalty kick touches the ball again before it has been touched by another player (for example after the ball has hit the crossbar or one of the goalposts), an indirect free kick must be awarded in favor of the defending team at the point where the second contact with the ball occurred;
  • if the ball, after being played and moving forward, is touched by a stranger (for example a ball boy), the penalty kick must be repeated unless the contact prevents a goalkeeper or defender from being able to play it while the ball is still entering the goal. In the latter case, the network must be validated;
  • finally, if the ball is touched by a stranger after having bounced off the pitch following a rejection by the goalkeeper, the goalposts or the crossbar, the referee must stop the game and restart it with his own throw-in at the point where the ball was at the moment of contact.


by Abdullah Sam
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