Fifa reduces encroachment punishment after World Cup controversy

The rule change comes ahead of the knockout stages in France.

There were a number of hotly-debated incidents during the pool stages.
There were a number of hotly-debated incidents during the pool stages.
Image: Richard Sellers

WITH THE WOMEN’S World Cup entering the knockout rounds, football’s international authorities have decided not to apply a new rule that could have led to a succession of red cards for goalkeepers in penalty shootouts.

Three times in France, goalkeepers have been shown yellow cards for coming off their lines under a heavily-criticised new rule that they must have at least one foot on the goal-line when facing a penalty.

France’s winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Nigeria and Argentina’s equaliser in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Scotland that denied the Scots a possible place in the last 16 came from retaken penalties after Video Assistant Referee (VAR) reviews deemed the goalkeepers to be marginally off their line. In both cases, the goalkeeper also received a yellow card.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) granted a temporary dispensation at the request of Fifa on Friday to suspend the yellow cards during shootouts, although they will still apply at penalties during normal play.

“Both Fifa and The IFAB therefore believe that the requirement to caution an offending goalkeeper in KFPM (kicks from a penalty mark) in matches with VARs is not necessary and risks unfairly distorting the KFPM if a goalkeeper is sent off,” IFAB said in a statement.

The use of VAR has been a constant source of controversy throughout the tournament, but the Chairman of Fifa’s Refereeing Committee, Perluigi Collina, defended the rule changes and the standard of refereeing in France.

“Penalties are finally being taken in a correct way because, in the past, goalkeepers often saved them by being off the goal line,” said the Italian.

“If a law exists, referees must enforce it – particularly when tools like VAR or GLT (goal-line technology) are available.”

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© – AFP 2019  

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