I know these hypothetical situations from a bunch of refs sitting around with nothing better to do aren’t your favorite things, but hopefully you’ll be willing to address this one. We do generally stick to issues that have actually happened to someone, but this one came up and none of us feels certain to have the correct answer.

A foul is committed by the defense in the PA in the closing seconds of a tie game. The referee points to the spot and announces that the PK is being taken in extended time. He also reminds both teams that after the kick is taken, the only player that may touch the ball is the keeper, and that after the kick is finished, the game is over.

The kicker takes the kick, which is deflected by the keeper up into the air. At the taking of the kick, the keeper was on his line, and all other players remained outside the PA/behind the ball until the ball was kicked – that is, all the requirements for a legal kick appear to have been satisfied, and the only question is whether or not the ball will enter the goal. However, the keeper loses the ball in the sun, and it bounces off his back towards the goal. By all appearances it will enter the goal, however, a defender who rushed in after the kick performs a goal-line clearance.

I have gone back and forth on this. Does the game end as a tie (or go to extra time) because the PK was properly taken and did not enter the goal? Or is there a retake? I suppose a third option might be a caution for the defender and IFK in from the 6, but that seems out due to the extended time issue. In going back to ATR 14.7, it seems appropriate to categorize the defender comparable to an outside agent as he could not legally play the ball, and order a retake as “Although the ball was put into play, the team given the PK is deemed not to have had a fair opportunity to score under these circumstances.” A caution for the defender for UB would likely be appropriate as well – I don’t think you can send him off for DOGSO because the offense is not punishable by a FK (no FK in extended time) or PK (the PK is for the previous foul).

OTOH, 14.7 also says that if the interference occurs after the keeper plays the ball, it’s a dropped ball (from the 6 presumably), which would lead one to believe that the kick is in fact over despite the defender’s illegal interference, and all that can be done is to caution the defender and end the game.

Would you be willing to address this scenario?

USSF answer (June 24, 2008):
First things first! Your scenario, while admittedly hypothetical, contains one element that should never come up in any soccer game in which time is extended for the taking of a penalty kick: No players other than the kicker and the goalkeeper should be anywhere near the penalty area in which the kick is taking place. Allowing that to happen is a major referee error and hard to forgive. In this case, the (hypothetical) referee has sown the seeds of his own destruction.

As to the answer to your scenario, you have not yet seen Advice 14.13, which will appear in the upcoming 2008 edition of the Advice to Referees. It should answer your question:

The penalty kick or kick from the penalty mark is completed only when the referee declares it so, and the referee should not declare the kick to be completed if there is any possibility that the ball is still in play. In other words: So long as the ball is in motion and contacting any combination of the ground, crossbar, goalposts, and goalkeeper, a goal can still be scored.

A penalty kick or kick from the penalty mark is not completed, and must therefore be retaken, if anything unfairly or illegally interferes with the movement of the ball from the moment of the kick to the arrival of the ball at the goal. Examples of such interference would include the ball bursting on its way to the net or the intervention of an outside agent (e. g., spectator) while the ball is still moving to the net. Any interference that occurs after the ball has reached the net (resulting in the ball entering the net, missing the net entirely, or being saved by the goalkeeper) is handled as if the same event had occurred during play. The basic principle underlying this guidance is that the team taking a penalty kick or a kick from the mark must be given a fair chance to score and any illegal obstacle hindering the movement of the ball to the net must result in a retake of the kick.

In this scenario, the Law regards the defender as an outside agent and thus the kick must be retaken. The defender — who should not have been anywhere near the field — must be cautioned for unsporting behavior.

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