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EducationPlay of the Week

Play of the Week 24: PK infringements

By PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer

In Play of the Week 24 we are discussing PK infringements and examining the criteria for when a referee will award a PK retake.

This particular play is from the game between Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver Whitecaps. We are looking at a PK award, then the criteria in Law for the requirements of the kicker and the goalkeeper.


First, when Whitecaps defender Fraser Aird trips SKC’s Jacob Peterson inside the penalty area, referee Kevin Stott is perfectly positioned to make a confident and correct call.

Positioning is the most important element when referees have to make critical decisions. When the players see Stott’s position and his confident award, there is hardly any argument, only frustration of one from Aird.

Second, Stott is then proactive by warning the players on the edge of the penalty area not to encroach; he also uses the ‘sweep’ technique with his arm to those players who are standing around the penalty arc.

AR Eric Weisbrod ensures that Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted is on the goal line, between the goal posts and facing the kicker, to comply with Law requirements before the kick is taken.

Last, as penalty taker, Benny Feilhaber runs up to the ball and feints one step before kicking it. This is legal as regards penalty procedure. The Laws of the Game state:

“Feinting in the run-up to take a penalty kick to confuse opponents is permitted as part of football. However, feinting to kick the ball once the player has completed his run-up is considered an infringement of Law 14 and an act of unsporting behavior for which the player must be cautioned.”

Feilhaber continues his run by another step after he feints. This is acceptable. It may have legally confused Ousted, who moves forward approximately one yard from the goal line as the kick is taken before making a save.

AR Weisbrod immediately raises his flag to indicate this illegal movement. The intervention by Weisbrod is one of the main duties of assistant referees listed in the Laws of the Game:

“Two assistant referees are appointed whose duties, subject to the decision of the referee, are to indicate:

– Whether, at penalty kicks, the goalkeeper moves off the goal line before the ball is kicked and if the ball crosses the line”

Goalkeepers are always allowed a certain amount of leeway by ARs as every PK could result in a retake. So, if the keeper moves forward and still has part of one foot on the line, this would be allowed.

If you look at the freeze frame, Ousted’s whole body is at least one yard from the line at the moment the ball is kicked.

Weisbrod takes responsibility by raising his flag, instead of hiding behind the communication kit, letting everyone know that it was his call. This is brave and confident decision-making by the AR.

Stott quite correctly supports his colleague’s adjudication and awards a retake, which Feilhaber confidently slots home.

Read more: Click here to see other Play of the Week’s from PRO’s Paul Rejer

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