This is a question regarding Law 14. While I know the kicker can stutter step or even change direction as they approach the ball, I believe that the kicker cannot come to a complete stop and then proceed to continue to approach the ball for the kick. Is this correct or have I misinterpreted something?

USSF answer (September 28, 2008):
According to the Interpretations of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees in the back of the 2008/2009 Laws of the Game:

Feinting to take a penalty kick to confuse opponents is permitted as part of football. However, if, in the opinion of the referee, the feinting is considered an act of unsporting behavior, the player must be cautioned.

Feinting at a penalty kick is allowed, including a brief stop along the way to the ball.

The issue of “feinting” underwent a significant change in 2000. Prior to that time, the kicker was expected to make one continuous, uninterrupted move to the ball; in and after 2000 (based on the FIFA Q&A), certain forms of deception were allowed.

FIFA clarified in 2002 that the kicker may seek to misdirect (or feint) at the taking of a penalty kick. USSF, in a memo of October 14, 2004 on this subject, identified four specific actions by the kicker that could constitute misconduct:

– he delays unnecessarily after being signaled by the referee to proceed,
– he runs past the ball and then backs up to take the kick,
– he excessively changes direction during the run to the ball, or
– he makes any motion of the hand or arm which is clearly intended to misdirect the attention of the goalkeeper.
In such cases, the referee should suspend the procedure, caution the player involved, and then signal once again for the kick to be taken. If the kick has already been taken, the referee should order it retaken only if the ball enters the goal. The player must still be cautioned for his misconduct regardless of the outcome. If the kick is not to be retaken (see above), the game is restarted with an indirect free kick for the defending team where Law 14 was violated.
As to the goalkeeper leaving the line early, all referees are expected to order a retake of a penalty kick or a kick from the penalty mark if the ‘keeper’s movement off the line has interfered with the kicker’s ability to score the goal.

Referees should watch for the sorts of feinting described in the position paper of October 14, 2004, but should not consider all deceptive maneuvers to be a violation of Law 14 or of the guidelines on kicks from the penalty mark in the section of the Laws pertaining to “Procedures to Determine the Winner of a Match or Home-and-Away.” They should ensure that the run to the ball is initiated from behind the ball and the kicker is not using deception to delay unnecessarily the taking of the kick.  The kicker’s behavior must not, in the opinion of the referee, unduly delay the taking of the kick in any feinting tactic. Others would include changing direction or running such an an excessive distance such that, in the opinion of the referee, the restart was delayed; or making hand or arm gestures with the intent to deceive the kicker (e .g., pointing in a direction).

The referee should allow the kick to proceed. If the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken.  If the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and restarts the match with an indirect free kick to the defending team.

To this we can add only that more and more liberal interpretation is taking place throughout the world. The kicker is permitted to approach slowly, stop, take few quick steps, and shoot.

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