The highest profile for changes to the Laws this season, has been for handball but there are 15 changes altogether.
These include changes to the taking of a penalty kick and also to the Kicks from the Penalty Mark, often called the penalty shoot-out. It’s probably best if I take them separately starting with the penalty kick.
Before that however, it’s worth recalling the change that was made last season to the goalkeeper’s movement at penalties.
Previously the goalkeeper had to keep both feet on the goal line until the penalty taker kicked the ball. The change was a slight concession and the goalkeeper can now step forward with one foot, providing the other foot remains on or above the goal line.
If the goalkeeper moves off the line with both feet before the kick is taken, and the ball goes in the goal, then a goal is awarded. That has always been the case. The Law change occurs when the kicker misses.
Previously if the goalkeeper has come off the goal line, the kick would be retaken. That is no longer the case unless the goalkeeper’s movement had affected the penalty takers kick.
If the ball misses the goal altogether, then the game restarts with a goal kick. If the ball rebounds from the goalpost or crossbar, then play continues.
If the ball is saved by the goalkeeper who’s come off the goal line prematurely, then the kick is still retaken.
There are other benefits for the goalkeeper. Previously if a goalkeeper committed the offence of coming off his goal line and saved the ball, it would warrant a yellow card.
Now the referee only has to issue a warning for the first offence. Also, if the goalkeeper and the kicker commit offences at the same time. the goalkeeper will not now receive a yellow card, but the kicker will.
No matter where the ball goes, the game restarts with an indirect free kick to the goalkeepers team.
The law makers feel the goalkeeper’s offence, would be caused by the penalty taker, feigning to kick the ball.
By Dick Sawdon Smith