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Rules panel aims to let goalkeepers move more at penalties

November 22, 2018
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Spain's Sergio Ramos scores his side's second goal from the penalty spot past Croatia goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Croatia and Spain at the Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, Croatia, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — World soccer’s rule-making panel wants to give goalkeepers more freedom to move when facing a penalty.

Currently, the Laws of the Game state goalkeepers “must remain on the goal line ... until the ball has been kicked.”

The panel, known as IFAB, proposed Thursday that goalkeepers should need “only one foot on the goal line when a penalty is taken.”

This would allow ’keepers to begin moving forward earlier without risking referees ordering the kick to be retaken if they make a save.

Penalty kicks were the main focus of the International Football Association Board’s business meeting to prepare for a March 1 session when law changes can be approved. New laws will take effect June 1 — the date of the Champions League final.

Other proposals included aiming to write a more precise wording for accidental handball offenses.

“The most significant clarifications relate to ‘non-deliberate’ handball situations, where there is an unfair ‘outcome/benefit’ due to the ball making contact with a player’s hand/arm,” IFAB said.

At the World Cup in June, Portugal almost lost its place in the round of 16 when Iran was awarded a stoppage-time penalty for a handball harshly judged against defender Cedric Soares. Iran scored the spot kick, then missed a clear chance to win the game.

IFAB also ended trials with the so-called ABBA order of teams taking penalties in a shootout. To relieve the pressure of one team potentially always taking spot kicks while trailing, the order could be reversed in each successive round.

“The board noted the absence of strong support, mainly because the procedure is complex, and agreed that it will no longer be a future option for competitions,” the panel said.

In other proposals, IFAB wants to cut timewasting by forcing substituted players to leave the field at the nearest touchline, make team officials in the dugouts eligible to receive yellow and red cards, and allow goal kicks to be touched again without leaving the penalty area.

IFAB said it is also looking at ways to curb attacking players disrupting defensive walls, and ordering a dropped ball if an attacking team gains too much advantage from the ball hitting a referee.

The panel includes delegates from soccer’s ruling body FIFA, which has four votes, plus the four British soccer federations. Proposals need six of eight votes to pass.

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