Play of the Week 13: Encroachment – Penalty retake

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

In Play of the Week 13 we are discussing retaking of a penalty kick, looking at an example from the New York Red Bulls versus Toronto FC game when players from both teams encroach into the penalty area before the kick has been taken.

In the Laws of the Game (Law 14, The Penalty Kick), there is clear guidance of the procedure to be adopted by referees, should players encroach into the penalty area. There is also a diagram which details all other infringements.

IFAB: The Penalty Kick – click here view Law 14 of the Laws of the Game

Basically, if an attacking player encroaches, the kick is retaken if a goal is scored. If the PK is missed then an indirect free kick is awarded to the defending team. If a defending player encroaches and a goal is scored, the goal stands. If it is missed, the PK is retaken. If players from both teams encroach, the PK is retaken, unless a player commits a more serious offense.

This seems somewhat harsh to the defending team but players, being aware of this punishment, should be careful and not encroach. In previous Laws of the Game, the referee also had to caution players for encroaching. This was also seen as punitive and referees may have been reluctant to penalize for encroachment, knowing the relatively severe punishment. The reason for players encroaching is due to referees regularly allowing this practice to occur.

In this play, referee Allen Chapman awards a PK to Toronto, and his procedure is text book. First, he speaks to players on the edge of the penalty area to warn them not to encroach. This is excellent pro-active management.


He then positions himself in a perfect position, one yard inside the area, knowing that if any players go past him there can be no justifiable complaint if they are penalized.

We can see that two players from each team encroach into the area and Chapman correctly applies the law and orders a retake after Toronto’s Will Johnson slots the ball past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.

You can see Chapman effectively selling his decision by letting everyone know exactly why he disallowed the goal.

Unfortunately for Toronto, Robles, who has a great record at saving Pks, keeps out the retaken penalty. You see that players wisely do not encroach at the retake.

This play has lots of great practice from which referees can learn:

– Accurate decision making
– Excellent pro-active management
– Clever positioning
– Correct application of Law
– Effective communication skills