Sports

Changes afoot? Call to relax rules governing goalkeepers

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".

Changes afoot? Goalkeepers may be less restricted when penalties are taken.

Changes afoot? Goalkeepers may be less restricted when penalties are taken.Credit:AP

The panel, the International Football Association Board, proposed on Thursday that goalkeepers should need "only one foot on the goal line when a penalty is taken".

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

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Penalty kicks were the main focus of IFAB's business meeting to prepare for a March 1 session when changes can be approved.

New laws will take effect on June 1 – the date of the Champions League final.

Other proposals included a more precise wording for accidental handball offences.

"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.

In other proposals, IFAB wants to cut time-wasting 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.

AP

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