When Is the PK Over?

Robert, a referee of older youth players, asks:

A penalty kick is completed when the ball stops moving. How about giving me some examples when a ball stops moving during a penalty kick situation.

Answer

The International Board, in its infinite wisdom when it rewrote the Laws of the Game to make them simpler and easier to understand, wasn’t entirely successful in several of its changes.  This is one of them.  Note that almost the exact same language was used in Laws 10 and 14 to say when the kick was complete:

Law 10:  The kick is completed when the ball stops moving, goes out of play or the referee stops play for any infringement of the Laws

Law 14:  The penalty kick is completed when the ball stops moving, goes out of play or the referee stops play for any infringement of the Laws.

More to the point of your question, both Laws include “ball stops moving” as one of the ways that a kick from the mark (KFTM) or a penalty kick (PK) may be considered ended.  This works fairly well for a KFTM and it also works for a PK taken in extended time.  As long as the ball continues to move while making contact with any one or combination of the goalkeeper, goalframe, or the ground, a valid goal can be scored.  Yet, at the same time, in each case no one else is allowed to participate in the play.  Thus, if a PK in extended time or a KFTM struck the crossbar, rebounded backward onto the ground in front of the goal, but had acquired a spin which resulted in the ball now rolling forward a few feet into the goal, that goal would count.  The same would be true if the ball rebounded from the crossbar to the back of the goalkeeper and then rebounded from there into the goal.

A regular, ordinary PK, however, is a bit different because, except for the original kicker, the ball can be played by anyone once it is in play (kicked and moved forward).  During that time, it is entirely possible that the ball could be motionless … and it doesn’t matter because, with one exception, no one particularly cares when, whether, or even if the PK is “over.”

The exception is if an outside agent interferes with play at the taking of a penalty kick.  Ordinarily, if play is stopped because of outside agent interference, the restart is a dropped ball.  We can just picture some spectator, who supports the Orange team which is just about ready to defend against a PK, thinking that, if he or she ran onto the field after the PK was taken and interfered, the referee would have to stop play and then restart with a dropped ball (effectively taking the PK away from the hated opponent)!  So the Laws of the Game provide that, if the interference occurs while the ball is moving toward the goal and hasn’t made contact as yet with any part of the goalframe or the goalkeeper, the restart will be a retake of the PK.  Until the ball stops moving forward (not just stops moving), the PK is not “over” at least for the purpose of retaking the PK rather than having a dropped ball in the case of outside agent interference.  The implicit theory of this provision is that a team which has been awarded a PK should have a reasonable opportunity to score and any event which interferes with that during the period from the ball being kicked and the ball reaching the immediate area of the goal should result in the offended team getting to redo the PK after all the dust has settled.

Player Disappears During Kicks from the Mark

An adult referee asks:

Kicks from the penalty mark 11 v 11 and all subs used.Last player on one side scores their 11th as it is now sudden death but the other team player says they are too injured to take theirs, possibly fear of losing the game?

Answer

This will likely not be the last time we entertain questions regarding how the 2016/2017 Laws of the Game changed elements of the Kicks from the Mark (KFTM) process.  This question, at least, is one of the easier ones (the really difficult questions will emerge after enough experience accrues to highlight the less well known ins and outs of KFTM).

Before proceeding, however, we need to clarify some terminology.  There is no such thing as “sudden death” in the KFTM procedure.  If the tie has not been broken by the time five pairs of kicks have occurred, the process moves to a phase in which the two teams take kicks in pairs and the tie is broken only if one team has scored and the other team has not. The term “sudden death” would be applicable only if the tie is declared broken (and KFTM is ended immediately) because the first kicker in the pair was successful.  In point of fact, both teams always have a chance to kick once the first five pairs have finished with the score still being tied.  In fact, this requirement for there to always be a second kick is at the heart of the question here.

With that settled, the scenario we are faced with here is fairly simple. The teams have started with 11 v. 11 and not lost anyone so far through ten pairs of kicks due to a send-off or injury.  We come then to the 11th pair of kicks with two and only two players (one from each team) who are eligible to kick in the 11th pair.  The team which started each pair of kicks is up and its 11th player kicks.  The opposing team by rule must also have the opportunity to kick using its 11th player.  Note that, so far, it doesn’t matter whether the first kicker of the pair scored or not.  The referee, who has been keeping track of who has kicked so far (assisted by the AR in the center circle), calls for Red #55.  No one comes forward.  Calls again but still no one.  Maybe Red #55 isn’t even there (not a likelihood in a high level match), maybe he or she has become ill (but has not officially withdrawn), or perhaps (as in this question) Red #55 is merely feigning injury for unsporting reasons.  With some variations, it really doesn’t matter why Red #55, the last eligible Red player, will not come forward to proceed with the 2nd kick of the current pair.

There is nothing in the Law dealing directly with this.  The closest “on point” guidance is in Law 10: “Kicks from the penalty mark must not be delayed for a player who leaves the field of play. The player’s kick will be forfeited (not scored) if the player does not return in time to take a kick.”  Note that this language is specifically directed at a player who has left the center circle where all eligible players are required to remain(excepting only the goalkeepers), hasn’t returned, and therefore is delaying the taking of the next KFTM.  It is a fundamental principle of interpreting the Law to find the core issue and expand from there and this delay is the prime issue.

Red #55 is clearly delaying the KFTM by not coming to the penalty mark when called to do so as the last possible player eligible to kick.  Law 10 says that we should declare Red #55 to have forfeited his or her opportunity and to be marked as having not scored … and now, finally, it makes a difference as to what happened when the last Blue player took his or her team’s 11th kick.  If it was successful, then the Red team failed to score and the KFTM is over, favoring Blue.  If the 11th Blue player had missed, then so also had the 11th Red player (our unresponsive #55): the two teams remain tied and so the referee must move to the 12th pair (thus beginning a new round).

Red #55 could be cautioned for all sorts of reasons — leaving the field without the permission of the referee, delaying the restart of play (if you count a KFTM as a “restart”), or simple unsporting behavior (showing a lack of respect for the game, which might be particularly pertinent if Red #55 were feigning an illness or simply willfully refusing to take the kick entirely despite being present).  Whether cautioned or not, this behavior must certainly be included in the match report, as well as any factually supportable evaluation of the player’s reasons (it would be up to the competition authority to determine punishment, if any, for the recalcitrant Red #55).

Anything beyond this is pure speculation.  For example, in a 2nd round, would Red #55 still be eligible?  If no longer eligible, then does “reduce to equate” apply and the Blue team must drop one before proceeding to round 2?  Let’s save these and related issues for another day.

LIES, DAMNED LIES, AND STATISTICS

Question:
Question about awarding an “assist” on a goal. If player A (from midfield, let’s say) makes a nice but short through-pass that sends Player B (a striker, let’s say) on a breakaway, and Player B has to take several touches to dribble close to the goal, and perhaps even has to evade a defender rushing back to tackle him, and Player B dribbles close to the net and scores, does player A get an assist for that?

I guess in a way, my question is, does player B have to immediately strike, volley, or head a ball into the goal for player A to get an assist?

Mind you, we don’t keep these stats. But the kids talk about it a lot, and I’m just curious to know the official answer.

Answer (October 20, 2014):
Assists are a totally unnecessary and worthless statistic, added to the list of other unnecessary statistics developed by sports statisticians (also generally unnecessary) to make their work seem important.

Here are three sources of information:
about.com
Definition: The pass or passes which immediately precede a goal; a maximum of two assists can be credited for one goal.

http://www.iahsaa.org/soccer/soccerstatmanual.pdf

http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/Stats_Manuals/Soccer/2009ez.pdf

The general rule of thumb seems to be that no more than two players may be credited with assists on a goal and that the person geting the assist has some immediate “input” in the goal. I.e., the situation you posit would not qualify for an assist.

The only statistics that truly matter for a team are wins, losses, draws, goals scored, and goals against. Assists are pure vanity. (Strangely enough, no one seems to keep such statistics for own goals. If they did that, then the team scored against would have more depressing and useless statistics to show off.)

DOES THE GOAL COUNT?

Question:
I was watching a clip of a professional men’s match when the following occurred. Team A attacked Team B’s goal, and missed, with the ball being shot into the hands of team B’s goalkeeper. The team A shooter’s momentum carried him off the field of play to the right of team B’s goal.

Team B’s ‘keeper carried the ball out to about his 12 yard line and put the ball down to kick it upfield, whereupon the team A shooter who had left the field of play “snuck” up behind the ‘keeper, and stole the ball, dribbled once, and scored. The goal stood.

My question is related to whether or not the scorer was eligible to even re-enter the field of play without the referee’s permission.

Clearly, his leaving the field of play resulted in a tactical advantage, although he did not originally leave the field intentionally. Does the goal count?

USSF answer (January 16, 2012):
Because the shooter left the field during the course of play through his momentum, he does not need the permission of the referee to return to the field. The goalkeeper was “punished” for his lack of shortsightedness in losing track of where the opposing player was. Score the goal.

REFEREE-AR COMMUNICATION AT A GOAL

Question:
If an attacking team shoots a shot on goal against the defending team and the ball bounces off the top goal post and straight down, clearly going over the line, but then spins back out of the goal and the AR signals that a goal has occurred, but the Referee yells play on because he either doesn’t believe it was a goal or didn’t look at the AR then what should the AR do in that situation if he is sure it was a goal but has not been acknowledged by the referee or fears the referee may be overruling him incorrectly and play continues?

USSF answer (October 6, 2011):
If the referee does his (or her) job correctly and the AR does his (or her) job correctly, there should have been no problem in awarding the goal immediately, provided they used the information supplied in the USSF publication “Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials.”

The referee’s job is to check visually with the AR and ensure that his view of the AR is maintained long enough to see a signal for a goal in cases where the ball is being played close to the goal and may have briefly but fully entered the goal. The AR’s job, if the ball briefly but fully enters the goal and is continuing to be played (and the referee’s view of the situation was obscured), is to raise the flag vertically to get the referee’s attention and then, after the referee stops play, to put flag straight down and follow the prescribed procedures for a goal (see the Guide). You do not tell us how you signalled the goal, but might it have been counter to the guidance given in the Guide to Procedures?

If the referee and the AR do not use the correct procedure and play continues, the AR’s next job is to get the information to the referee as quickly as possible. We certainly hope that the referee and the ARs discussed a suitable procedure for such events during their pregame conference. One way to do this would be to stand at attention at the goal line and not move with play; when the referee realizes that the AR is not moving with play, then he should stop the game and speak with the AR

IN LIFE,TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Question:
The ball is shot, the keeper fumbles it, but vision of the goal line is not clear. I look to my AR to see if the ball crossed the line, and instead the AR gives different flag signals that are confusing(such as pointing to the attacking side and pointing at the goal) (and also she did not give the signal for the goal, which is to run back to the center with flag down). The keeper punted the ball before I could ask my AR what she meant and I waited until the ball went out of play (about 45 seconds) to stop play. Then I ran over to my AR and asked her if the ball crossed the line and she said yes. She confirmed the goal and I counted the goal (also the team that scored was already winning if that plays a part, after the goal it was 2-0).

I know the AR messed up the call but would you stop play right there if the ball is already in play to confirm or wait until it went out of bounds, or would you have continued to allow play to go on and not count the goal and not consult the AR. Also it was for the recreational championship.

USSF answer (May 13, 2011):
Because the ball was never out of play, it is theoretically legitimate to award the goal after so much time has passed; however, this is not something that the referee should allow to become common practice.

One way of doing that is to use the pregame conference to ensure that your ARs know what signals to use to indicate a goal, ball over the line and back into the field, etc. This information is taught in the entry-level course, but many instructors fail to follow up classroom instruction with practical work, so the less-experienced AR may not remember. If you do not know your AR and have never worked with him or her before, make use of the pregame conference to remind both ARs what signals you want to see in such tough situations.

OFFSIDE “AFTER” A GOAL IS SCORED?

Question:
Offside “after” a goal is scored? I know, strange title. Here is the scenario. Player A takes a shot on goal while Player B is in an offside position. The ball is on frame and appears to enter the goal and completely cross the goal-line when Player B heads the ball the rest of the way into the back of the net.

Goalkeeper nor any defenders reacted in any way to Player B so it appears that he did not affect the play. Since a goal was already scored when player B played the ball, is offside called?

In this case, Player A and B have names: Christiano Ronaldo and Nani.
You can see a clip of the play here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvzPFEIJyoY

USSF answer (November 20 2010):
We cannot debate the results of a referee’s decision-making process at this level. That is a matter to be resolved between the referee and his/her match inspector.

No matter how it may look to us or the players, a goal is not scored until the referee says it is scored. There was a similar occurrence earlier this year at the World Cup, when the ball kicked by Frank Lampard of England clearly bounced well inside the goal and was then swept out by the German goalkeeper. We all know it was a goal, but if the referee disagrees, life is hard.

Lampard vs. Germany

With those conditions stipulated, we can say with a high degree of assurance that, if the contact with the ball is not made until after the ball has entirely crossed the goal line into the net and if there is no issue of interfering with an opponent prior to the ball entering the net, there cannot be an offside violation. In short, there is no offside violation after a goal is scored.

REFEREE RESCINDS GOAL AFTER CALLING THE GAME COMPLETE

Question:
With time running out in the 2nd half and the home team down by a goal, a corner kick is taken by the home team and the ball bounces off of a player and then a home team player heads it into the goal. The CR signals the goal scored and then blows a long whistle signaling the end of the game.

The home team players celebrate and walks off the field and the visiting players also walk off the field. As the teams get ready to exchange post-game handshake, refs approach both coaches and reverses the last goal as a ‘no goal’ citing an offside violation against a home team scorer and declares the visiting team as winner by a goal.

Can the refs reverse call(s) or non-call(s) made during the game after officially ending the game? If so, then is there a time limit or restriction on what type of calls or non-calls can be reversed?

USSF answer (October 4, 2010):
Law 5 (The Referee) tells us:

Decisions of the Referee
The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final.
The referee may only change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or TERMINATED THE MATCH. [Emphasis added.]

Since the referee had terminated the match, the goal decision has to stand and the decision to change it was in error (as well as protestable, because the referee “set aside a Law of the Game”). After including full details in the match report and submitting it to the appropriate authorities, all that remains is for the referee to either learn from this or turn in his badge.

GOALS AND INJURED ‘KEEPER

Question:
In order to play there are X number of players and a specifically appointed goalkeeper. This is a two part question. If the goalkeeper is injured does play stop? If the keeper is injured for a period of time and play is continuing does the goal count if it crosses the goal line?

USSF answer (July 29, 2010):
A two-part question gets a two-part answer.

1. Play is stopped only if, in the opinion of the referee, the player is seriously injured. That includes all players, whether field player or goalkeeper.

2. If the goalkeeper is not, in the opinion of the referee, seriously injured and play continues, a goal would be counted if the whole of the ball completely crosses the entire goal line between the goalposts and beneath the crossbar.

SCORE GOAL AFTER WHISTLE?

Question:
in a recent high school game. the ball was kicked before time expired but enter the goal after time had expired. it was a 2 man ref. system. I was not the head ref. so i had look to the main for help. He counted the goal saying its like “basketball” once its kicked b4 time expires it counts.

do you happen to know the if this answer is correct? i thought as time expires, the game ends no matter where the ball is.

USSF answer (April 7, 2009):
We don’t do high school rules here, but under the Laws of the Game you are absolutely correct: No goal, as time had expired. Soccer is not like basketball in that regard. And high school rules are the same as the Laws of the Game with respect to when time expires.