At a major state recertification seminar today, we discussed deception on the taking of a PK – more specifically, the case when a player goes beyond legal deception and on to infringement.

The case in question is a player who approaches the ball, overruns it, then backs up.

My position was simple: LotG state that if the kicker infringes, the ref allows the kick to be taken, and either orders a rekick or orders an IFK out, depending on if the ball entered the goal or not.

Our instructor stated that the correct procedure is to blow the whistle at the point when the kicker backs up, without allowing the kick to be taken, and award the IFK immediately. He stated this was direction from FIFA.

At a break, I asked our guest speaker, a former FIFA ref, and that ref did not know. It was suggested that I contact you.

If our instructor was correct, please direct me to the appropriate FIFA publication. I pride myself on knowing the laws and would like to understand this better.

USSF answer (February 8, 2010):
We are not aware of any changes in Law 14 as published for 2009-2010:

Infringements and Sanctions
If the referee gives the signal for a penalty kick to be taken and, before the ball is in play, one of the following occurs:

the player taking the penalty kick infringes the Laws of the Game:
* the referee allows the kick to be taken
* if the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken
* if the ball does not enter the goal, the referee stops play and the match is restarted with an indirect free kick to the defending team, from the place where the infringement occurred

See also this excerpt from Advice to Referees 14.9 INFRINGEMENTS OF LAW 14:

Infringements after the referee’s whistle 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 [given in the excerpt from the Law, above], 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 (whistle) again for the restart.

So, only in the case of the kicker taking an excessively long run to the ball should the referee intervene (“if possible”) before the kick is taken — the implication being that, if intervention even in this case is not possible, the referee follows the general advice on Law 14 violations. The Federation has dealt with one or more aspects of this situation in Memos in 2005, 2007, and as recently as August 2009 (a “stutter step kick” with a clip).

NOTE: Feinting at penalty kicks is going to be a topic of discussion at the IFAB meeting of March 6, 2010. it is possible that this answer might change based on the outcome of the discussion.

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