When a player commits an infringement or foul inside his own penalty area while the ball is in play, he may be penalised by the referee, who awards a goal kick to the opposing team. This harsh sanction is called a penalty kick.

The kick is taken from the penalty mark eleven metres from the goal, which is guarded only by the goalkeeper. The goalkeeper is responsible for trying to stop the shot. A goal may be scored directly from a penalty kick.

What is the procedure for taking a penalty kick?

The ball must remain stationary on the penalty mark for the kicker, who must be clearly identified, to take the kick. The defending goalkeeper must remain on his own goal line, i.e. he must remain between the goalposts until the ball is put into play. The kicker stands in front of the goalkeeper. The other players are positioned on the field of play outside the penalty area, always at least 9.15 m from the penalty mark.

The referee is responsible for giving the signal for the penalty kick to be taken once the players are in a position in accordance with the Laws of the Game. The kick is taken as soon as the ball moves. The kicker always kicks the ball forward and may only play the ball a second time if it has previously been touched by another player. The penalty kick ends when the ball stops moving, is no longer in play or the referee stops play because an infringement has been committed.

Infringements and penalties

The kicker must proceed to take the penalty kick after the referee has given the signal. However, the following cases may occur before the ball enters play:

  • The player taking the penalty kick or a team-mate infringes a rule of the game: if it is a goal, the penalty kick is retaken, if it is not, the referee stops play and awards an indirect free kick to a player of the opposing team.
  • The goalkeeper or a player of his team does not comply with the rules of the game: if the ball enters the goal, the goal is awarded, if it does not, the penalty is retaken.
  • A player from the attacking team and a player from the defending team break the rules of play. In this case the penalty kick is always retaken, unless one of the players has committed a more serious offence.

The following cases may also occur after the penalty kick has been taken:

  • The kicker kicks the ball a second time before it is touched by another player. In this case the referee awards the opposing team an indirect free kick, or a direct free kick if the kicker deliberately handles the ball. In either case the kick is taken from the place where the infringement occurred.
  • The ball touches an outside agent as it is moving forward. The penalty kick is always retaken unless the interference does not prevent the play.
  • The ball rebounds from the goalkeeper or the goal and returns to the field of play and subsequently touches an outside agent. In this case the referee stops play and restarts play with the ball on the ground from the place where the object touched it.

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