What is the new penalty rule for goalkeepers? When does it change, what to expect, what has IFAB said

Emiliano Martinez employed a number of distraction tactics in the World Cup final last year as Argentina beat France on penalties

Football lawmakers have announced a major shake-up of the rules around penalties.

It is a change which gives penalty takers a significant advantage when trying to score from 12 yards. In recent years goalkeepers have commonly used gamesmanship to try and distract penalty takers as they step up to try and score a goal. This was seen most notably during the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar when Argentine shot stopper Emiliano Martinez pulled out all the stops when facing France in the decisive shoot-out.

Martinez used a range of methods to distract the opposition, including throwing the ball away, speaking to his opponent and pulling funny faces. This worked to great effect as his side lifted the World Cup trophy with a 4-2 victory in the shoot out. It was also seen during the 2014 World Cup and former Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul was substituted on to the pitch for the Netherlands against Costa Rica due to his ability to distract opponents from the penalty spot.

However a number of rule changes have now been put in place to prevent other goalkeepers from repeating this behaviour ahead of the European Championships in 2024.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) have announced four new rules which will affect goalkeepers during in game penalties and penalty shoot outs.

But what are the new rule changes and when are they likely to come into effect? Here is everything you need to know.

What are the new penalty rules?

The International Football Association Board have brought in a number of new rules for goalkeepers during penalties which are set to come into effect on 1 July 2023. In the IFAB law changes report, Law 14, it states: “Clarification that the goalkeeper must not behave in a manner that fails to show respect for the game and the opponent, i.e by unfairly distracting the kicker.

Tim Krul used a number of distraction tactics to help his side to a penalty shootout victory in the 2014 World Cup. (Getty Images)Tim Krul used a number of distraction tactics to help his side to a penalty shootout victory in the 2014 World Cup. (Getty Images)
Tim Krul used a number of distraction tactics to help his side to a penalty shootout victory in the 2014 World Cup. (Getty Images)

“The defending goalkeeper must remain on the goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts, without touching the goalposts, crossbar or goal net, until the ball is kicked.” The new rules also state that goalkeepers must not show behaviours that fail to show respect, which could include various celebrations if the penalty is missed.

In recent times teams have deployed tactics to protect the penalty taker and keep them focused as they prepare to shoot. This was seen during Newcastle’s meeting with Nottingham Forest in March 2023 as Kieran Trippier acted as a decoy player by shaping up as if he was going to take the penalty, only to pass the ball to Alexander Isak who scored the winner moments later.

How have people reacted to the rule change?

The new rule changes have been met with criticism by a number of football fans and players. One user reacted to the news on Twitter and posted: “Unnecessary. This is a social sport not some AI generated gymnastics.”

Another added: “This is horrible. That stuff was part of the game. It’s a skill for goalkeepers to play mind games before penalties. They just make the game & more bland.”

France and AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan also expressed his dissatisfaction at the rule change and tweeted: “New IFAB penalty rules 2026. Goalkeepers must have their backs to the shot. If the penalty is saved, the opposition gets an indirect freekick.” Former Premier League striker and Match Of The Day pundit Ian Wright also reacted to the rule change by simply posting: “Ridiculous.”

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