This was forwarded to me, and if i understand the new interpretation, it might be legal – can’t say i like it, however.
Please evaluate and comment.
USSF answer (December 11, 2008):
An excerpt from Advice to Referees 14.9 is useful here:
Infringements after the referee’s signal but before the ball is in play may be committed by the kicker, the goalkeeper, or by any of their teammates. Violations of Law 14 by the kicker in particular include back heeling the ball (14.12), running past the ball and then backing up to take the kick, excessively changing directions in the run to the ball or taking an excessively long run to the ball (which, in the opinion of the referee, results in an unnecessary delay in taking the kick), or making any motion of the hand or arm which (in the opinion of the referee) is clearly intended to confuse or misdirect the attention of the ‘keeper. In almost all such cases, the referee should let the kick proceed and deal with the violation in accordance with the chart below [not included here], which outlines the proper restarts for clear infringements of Law 14. However, in the case of a kicker creating an unnecessary delay in taking the kick, the referee should intervene, if possible, warn the kicker to proceed properly, and signal again for the restart.
In response to a question similar to yours, we provided this answer in 2001; it is fully in line with the latest guidance from the IFAB and FIFA:
USSF answer (April 25, 2001):
Feinting at a penalty kick, provided it is done without lapsing into unsporting behavior, is allowed. The judgment of unsporting behavior is at the discretion of the referee, who should remember that players are permitted to deceive their opponents at the taking of free kicks outside the penalty area using well rehearsed drills. The penalty kick should be treated in the same way. Remember that the penalty is awarded because of an offense by the defending team. One example of unsporting behavior would be to step over the ball, hesitate, and then bring the foot back again to kick the ball.
We might add to the earlier response that the kicker’s behavior must not, in the opinion of the referee, unduly delay the taking of the kick.
Any instance of unsporting behavior must be in the opinion of the referee, based on that particular act in that particular game at that particular moment of the game. Although there are certain actions that will always be unsporting behavior, we cannot arbitrarily set a list of actions that must be called as unsporting behavior in the case of feinting at a penalty kick. The referee has to take responsibility for some of his own decisions.
The officials on the game clearly believed the decision to be correct. In our opinion, the action of the kicker rides close to the edge but is legal. Apart from the fact that he did not do any of the things we list in the Advice as being examples of a kicker violation of Law 14 (see above) — there is no requirement that the kicker RUN to the ball at all. He could walk, trot, sprint, or even just stand behind the ball. So he ran to the ball and stopped. Suppose he had started walking toward the ball and then, from about 1-2 yards away, broke into a sprint before taking the kick. Would this have been illegal?
We invite our readers to go to the URL in question and decide for themselves the correct answer: http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/sport/fussball/Darf-man-so-einen-Penalty-schiessen/story/14850459
NOTE: The German title asks the question, “May someone shoot a penalty kick this way?”