21st June, 2019
Goalkeepers at the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup in France will not be booked for stepping off the goal-line during penalty shootouts to reduce the likelihood of them being sent off.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game’s law-making body, said on Friday it approved a request by world governing body FIFA for a temporary dispensation from the rule.
New regulations brought in from June 1 by IFAB mean that goalkeepers must have one foot at least partly on the line when the penalty kick is taken.
The goalkeeper can neither stand behind nor in front of it.
The law currently states that if a goalkeeper commits an offence, the kick must be retaken and the goalkeeper cautioned.
IFAB said it had approved a request from global governing body FIFA for a temporary dispensation from the requirement to yellow card a goalkeeper who is penalised for the offence.
“Both FIFA and the IFAB … believe that the requirement to caution an offending goalkeeper in Kicks from the Penalty Mark (KFPM) in matches with Video Assistant Referees is not necessary
and risks unfairly distorting the KFPM if a goalkeeper is sent off,” IFAB said in a statement.
IFAB added that the presence of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) increases the likelihood of offences being detected.
“As goalkeepers are likely to face a number of kicks during KFPM, there is a higher risk that a goalkeeper will be sent off for receiving a second caution if already cautioned in normal time, or two cautions during the KFPM,” the statement said.
The issue of goalkeepers being penalised by the VAR for coming off the line has been in the spotlight at the women’s World Cup.
Nigeria’s goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie and the Super Falcons suffered so much from the rule against hosts France on Monday, losing to a lone goal scored from a retaken penalty kick.
The goalkeeper was also given a yellow card for having stepped off the line when the penalty kick, which was missed, was first taken.
Also, Scotland were eliminated from the tournament after their goalkeeper Lee Alexander saved a stoppage-time penalty kick against Argentina only to be penalised for coming off her line.
Argentina’s Florencia Bonsegundo scored from the retake to snatch a draw that sent Scotland crashing out.
Three penalties have been retaken at the World Cup because the goalkeeper did not have at least one foot on the goalline, sparking a debate about whether VAR should rule on the matter.
Goalkeepers will however continue to be booked for coming off the line before penalties are taken in “normal time’’.
IFAB said it would be unfair to those who had already been cautioned for similar offences if they changed the rule midway through the tournament.
“After the end of the tournament the disciplinary sanction for offences committed by the goalkeeper at penalties might be further discussed within IFAB’s panels,” the chairman of FIFA’s refereeing committee Pierluigi Collina said in a statement.
The World Cup’s last-16 matches begin on Saturday.