Controversial Soccer rule being exploited in the PSL - Goal kick Rule! In June 2019, a change to the controversial goal kick rule(Law 16) was made by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), after many complains relating to opposition player not able to intercept the ball inside the 18-area box and defending team not able to play the ball inside the 18-area box. When the ball is touched without leaving the 18-area box a retake is ordered by the referee, whether ball is touched by defending team or opposition team. This rule was abused by the defending team and also disadvantaged the attacking team because they could not intercept the ball inside the 18-area before the defender touched the soccer ball.
Early confusion of the goal kick rule
Maritzburg Exploits the Soccer Rule
In the Premier Soccer League (PSL), this rule has been compromised and exposed by Maritzburg United. Clearly tactical instructions from coach Eric Tinkler, former Bafana Bafana middle fielder. Maritzburg keeper (Richard Ofori) chips the ball in the air allowing Naseer Ali to head the ball back to keeper. This is adventitious because its easier and more accurate for keeper to kick the ball in his hands than on the ground. This tactic can also be used as time delay tactic when you team is winning or when you injured teammate is receiving treatment, this is as a result of keeper being allowed to hold the ball for six second before releasing the ball.
Interestingly enough, at half time interval the referee spoke to the Goalkeepers suggesting that action taken by Maritzburg was illegal. According to law 16 the action is legal:
- Ball can be played inside the 18-yard box by the defending team
- Opposition players must be outside the 18-area box and defending players can be inside the 18-arbox
This was before IFAB saw the abuse of the rule by teams around the world and updated law 16 in 2nd of August.
IFAB Rule Update in 2 August
However, the update to law 16 prevents goalkeeper from chipping the ball to the defender and the defender heading or chest the ball back to the goalkeeper to catch.Hence, according to soccer law 16 update in 2 August the referee was supposed to have not allowed Maritzburg to start the ball in that manner and should have ordered a retake!!!
"There has been much debate about whether, at a goal kick, the goalkeeper is permitted to ‘lift’ the ball to a team mate to head or chest it back to the goalkeeper to catch and then put into play. The views of technical and refereeing experts about whether this is within the ‘spirit’ of the Laws is divided so the matter will be discussed by The IFAB. Until then, this practice should not be permitted nor should it be penalised. If it occurs the referee should order the goal kick to be re-taken (but without any disciplinary action)."- says IFAB.