Goalkeeping Rule Commentary on Penalties: Goodbye, Discretion – Sport


An unwritten rule of football says: The penalty taker can only lose. Because everyone expects to score. Conversely, the goalkeeper can only win because nobody can expect him to hold a plastic ball that a well-trained person fires at him from a short distance. The goalkeeper can still make mistakes. Chapter 14 of the official DFB “Football Rules 2022/2023” – “Penalty Kick” – states, for example, that the goalkeeper “must have at least part of a foot on or above the goal line” when the kicker shoots. In order to punish misconduct more consistently, the DFB has now decided that In the future, the video referees should also look at the goalkeepers’ feet. Internationally, the strict interpretation of Rule 14 has long been customary – to the displeasure of Hoffenheim’s goalkeeper Oliver Baumann, who demands a tolerance.

A prime example of illegal foot activity was the game between VfL Wolfsburg and Schalke 04 this season. Simon Terodde took the penalty against Koen Casteels, who guessed the right corner, the Wolfsburg fans celebrated exuberantly. Wrongly so, as Casteels’ studs were no longer touching the white chalk of the goal line when Terodde shot. Referee Felix Zwayer’s eagle eyes spotted this irregularity and the penalty was repeated. literally. Terodde shot in the same corner, Casteels was there again, and too far ahead again. But this time there was no whistle from Zwayer.

The reason for the adjustments in the middle of the season: They want to “avoid different interpretations due to a discretionary power,” according to a statement from the DFB. The discretion of the referee is not a flaw in the system. On the contrary, the referee should decide whether someone has gained an unfair advantage or whether it is normal for a man’s foot, which is an average of 28 centimeters long, not to rest on the ten to twelve centimeter thick line. Mind games in testosterone-loaded playground style or trampled penalty points are not mentioned in the DFB message.

Even after parried penalties, there should soon only be throttled emotions

The dissatisfaction with the VAR comes, among other things, from the fact that he feigns justice through fidelity to the facts, which is the case in Soccer can not give. Instead, he forbids emotion when he asks the question after a goal: Was it really a goal? Or does it first have to be measured using satellite-controlled cross bearing when the goalie last cut his toenails? Football fans have long understood the frustration of premature celebration and suppressed joy. Throttled emotions are now threatening to become the rule rather than the exception, even after penalties have been parried.

A game at the 2004 Olympic Games illustrates what pedantic adherence to the rules can lead to when taking a penalty. In the 2-3 draw between Serbia and Tunisia, the referee allowed a Tunisian to take five penalties because a player allegedly ran into the penalty area too early each time. It didn’t matter to him at all whether the Tunisians weren’t more of a hindrance to one another. A curiosity from football history that is only entertaining as long as it remains a singular event.



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