Rule 14 – (Football) Soccer Penalty Kick


(Football) Soccer Penalty Kick – Introduction

A (football) soccer penalty kick is awarded against a team which commits one of the ten offences for which a direct free kick is awarded inside the 18 yard box (commonly known as the penalty box). A goal may be scored directly from a (football) soccer penalty kick.

(Football) Soccer Penalty Kick – Details

A penalty kick may be awarded when a defending player is within the penalty area (commonly known as “the box” or “18 yard box”) and commits a foul punishable by a direct free kick against an opponent or commits a handball offence. Note that it is the location of the offence — and not the position of the ball — that defines whether a foul is punishable by a penalty kick or direct free kick, provided the ball is in play. The location where the foul is originally committed determines whether the penalty is awarded. The referee signals the award of a penalty kick by blowing the whistle and pointing to the penalty spot.

Additional time is allowed for a (football) soccer penalty kick to be taken at the end of each half or at the end of periods of extra time. When the penalty kick is taken, the only two players in the 18 yard box are the penalty taker and the defending team’s goalkeeper. Everyone else must sit outside the box at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the penalty mark and can only move towards the ball once it is kicked. So if the penalty is saved by the goalkeeper or strikes the bar, a player could run from the edge of the box and gain possession.

(Football) Soccer penalty kicks are performed during normal play. Similar kicks are made in a penalty shootout in some tournaments to determine which team is victorious after a drawn match; though similar in procedure, these are not penalty kicks and are governed by slightly different rules.

In practice, penalties are converted to goals more often than not, even against world class goalkeepers. This means that penalty awards are often decisive, especially in low-scoring games. Missed penalty kicks are often demoralizing to players because it is an easy opportunity to score.