(Reuters) - Goalkeepers at the women’s World Cup will not be booked for stepping off the goalline during penalty shootouts to reduce the likelihood of them being sent off, soccer’s law-making body IFAB said on Friday.
New regulations brought in from June 1 by IFAB mean that goalkeepers must have one foot at least partly on the line when the penalty is taken and can neither stand behind nor in front of it.
The law currently states that if a goalkeeper commits an offence, the kick must be retaken and the goalkeeper cautioned.
IFAB said that it had approved a request from global governing body FIFA for a temporary dispensation from the requirement to yellow card a keeper who is penalised for the offence.
“Both FIFA and the IFAB ... believe that the requirement to caution an offending goalkeeper in Kicks from the Penalty Mark (KFPM) in matches with Video Assistant Referees is not necessary and risks unfairly distorting the KFPM if a goalkeeper is sent off,” IFAB said in a statement.
IFAB added that the presence of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) increases the likelihood of offences being detected.
“As goalkeepers are likely to face a number of kicks during KFPM, there is a higher risk that a goalkeeper will be sent off for receiving a second caution if already cautioned in normal time, or two cautions during the KFPM,” the statement said.
The issue of keepers being penalised by the VAR for coming off the line has been in the spotlight at the women’s World Cup.
Scotland were eliminated from the tournament after their keeper Lee Alexander saved a stoppage-time penalty against Argentina only to be penalised for coming off her line.
Argentina’s Florencia Bonsegundo scored from the retake to snatch a draw that sent Scotland crashing out.
Three penalties have been retaken at the World Cup because the goalkeeper did not have at least one foot on the goalline, sparking a debate about whether VAR should rule on the matter.
Goalkeepers will continue to be booked for coming off the line before penalties are taken in ‘normal time’ as IFAB said it would be unfair to those who had already been cautioned for similar offences if they changed the rule midway through the tournament.
“After the end of the tournament the disciplinary sanction for offences committed by the goalkeeper at penalties might be further discussed within IFAB’s panels,” the chairman of FIFA’s refereeing committee Pierluigi Collina said in a statement.
The World Cup’s last-16 matches begin on Saturday.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis