what is the radius of the PENALTY SPOT and the CENTER SPOT?
USSF answer (December 27, 2008):
The prescribed size of the penalty mark for games played under the Laws of the Game is nine inches (0.22 m) in diameter — although you will no longer find it in the Laws of the Game.
Between 1975 and 1996-1997 (the orange book), the body of the Law contained no mandated dimension for the penalty mark. It said only that a “suitable mark” would be present. Going at least as far back as 1984, however, the accompanying field diagram labeled the mark as a 9-inch (0.22 m) diameter circle. In 1997 this was dropped from the diagram.
Just to be sure, we checked this with Stanley Lover, one of the acknowledged world experts on the Laws and their history, on the matter:
Agree, the 9 inch dimension has never been specified in the laws but there is a clue to its origin.
Way back in the 1956 FA Referees’ Chart the Preface refers to the inclusion of “interpretations of the laws, made from time to time by the Referees’ Committee of FIFA…and published for the first time as ‘International Board Decisions’ ”
These included a table of metric equivalents of Imperial measurements.
The field diagram was as before – Imperial only – and remained unchanged, I believe, until the 1997 fiasco.
However, my first FIFA laws book of 1973 shows a 9 inch dia. penalty ‘spot’, although, strangely, the metric equivalent (0.22m) was not added to the table until 1974. The FA Chart 74-5 also added the 0.22m figure.
This suggests to me that, before 1956, the FIFA Referees’ Committee published various interpretations of the laws – to guide non-UK countries – including its version of the field diagram. At some time up to 1956 it was decided to put a size to the penalty mark, which equated to the diameter of the ball (logical), but without proposing it to the IFAB to be in formal law.
Although ‘Penalty mark’ is the formal law description it has left the door open to the use of a short line, as you mention in some USA soccer associations. As you know the original penalty-kick reference was a line so there is logic in that too. However, for donkeys years it was a ‘Penalty spot’ in FA charts and accepted as such.
Just to confuse the issue a bit more – the FIFA 1973 law book diagram labels the ‘mark’ as a ‘spot’, but in the 1974 issue it’s a ‘mark’ !
We can find no information on an actual specified size for the center mark or center spot. One sees different sized center marks all over the world. It is simply a convenience for the placement of the kick-off and its size makes absolutely no difference.