Penalty kick (football)

From Academic Kids

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Players taking up positions prior to a penalty kick; note that the goalkeeper is not yet in the required position

A penalty kick is a type of free kick in association football (soccer), taken from twelve yards (eleven metres) out from goal and with only the goalkeeper of the defending team between the penalty taker and the goal.

A penalty kick is performed during normal play. Similar kicks can be made in a 'penalty shootout' to settle a tied match after normal play has ended, but these are not penalty kicks, and are governed by different rules: see Penalty shootout (football).



A penalty kick may be awarded when a defending player committs a foul punishable by a direct free kick against an opponent, within their own penalty area (commonly known as "the box", "18 yard box" or "16 metre box"). 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 penalty kick is taken from the penalty mark, which is a midline spot 12 yards (11 metres) from the goal. The penalty kick taker must be clearly identified to the referee.

All players other than the defending goalkeeper and the penalty taker must be outside the penalty area, behind the penalty mark, and at least ten yards from the ball until it is kicked. The goalkeeper must remain between the goalposts on the goal-line until the ball is kicked, however may move from side to side along the goal-line.

After the referee signals for the kick to be taken, the kicker must kick the ball in a forward direction (not necessarily at the goal, however this is almost always the case). The ball is in play once it has been kicked and moved, and from this point other players may enter the penalty area and play continues as normal, however most often a goal has already been scored.

The penalty kick is a form of direct free kick, meaning that a goal may be scored directly from it. If a goal is not scored, play continues as usual. As with all free kicks, the kicker may not play the ball a second time, until it has been touched by another player. However, a penalty kick is unusual in that, unlike general play, external interference directly after the kick has been taken may result in the kick being retaken (rather than the usual drop-ball).


Infractions of the penalty kick law (goalkeeper forward movement, encroaching into forbidden areas) by either team are dealt with using an advantage concept.


  • For infractions by the defending team, should a goal be scored it stands, otherwise the kick is retaken.
  • For infractions by the kicking team, should a goal be scored the kick is retaken, otherwise play continues.
  • For infractions by both teams, the kick is retaken.
  • If the kicker plays the ball twice (including following up a rebound off the goalpost not touched by the goalkeeper), an indirect free kick is awarded against his side, as is usual for free kicks.

The referee may also caution (yellow card) players for infrigements of the penalty kick law, eg repeated encroaching into the penalty area. Note that in practice, most minor penalty kick infractions are not penalised.

Other offences that occur during a penalty kick are dealt with in the usual way.


The invention of the penalty kick is credited to the goalkeeper and businessman William McCrum in 1890. The Irish Football Association presented the idea to the International Football Association Board and finally after much debate, the board approved the idea on 2 June 1891. It was introduced in the 1891-92 season.

External links

fr:Loi 14 du football : coup de pied de rparation (penalty) ja:ペナルティキック (サッカー) zh:点球


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