A video from Week 23 in review shows an attacker clearly entering the PA to soon during a PK, due to the feint. This was clearly a violation of Law 14, yet the goal stood. The violation and the non-call are both very common occurrences. My first question is: At the taking of a penalty kick would you ever bother to call a foul(on a defender or attacker)for entering the PA by a few feet to soon; if a goal was scored, of if the keeper obtained control, or if the shot went across the end line? In all instances this foul seems to be trifling to me, but without guidance from the Laws different referees will call this same type of play differently. My second question, assuming you agree it is acceptable for me to view this as a trifling offense, is why have the law if we are not going to enforce it consistently? Many coaches, players and parents/fans do read the Laws, and it is reasonable for them to expect the laws to be enforced.

When referees don’t enforce the Laws consistently it undermines our credibility, and in my opinion rightfully so. My humble suggestion would be to take the Law 14 sentences “… infringes the Laws of the game:”, and add the phrase “and interferes with the taking of the kick or the defending of the kick:”

USSF answer (December 21, 2009):

We beg to differ with your statement that no call was made. In point of fact, players from both teams enter the penalty area in both Clip 1 and Clip 2 from Week in Review 23. While the encroachment by these players is clearly against the procedure mandated in Law 14, the referee is allowed to exercise discretion and determine whether the encroachment has had an effect on the kick. In these two cases, the answer for the referees on those games was that the infringement was trifling and had no effect.

As to changes in the wording of the Law, those are not up to us but to the International Football Association Board, the body that makes the rules.

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