(Reuters) – Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in the Premier League will not determine whether goalkeepers have moved off their line during penalties, leaving the decision to on-field officials, The Times reported.
VAR will be used in the Premier League for the first time from next season but the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) have decided that VAR will not intervene if the goalkeeper steps off the goalline to avoid unnecessary retakes.
New regulations brought in from June 1 by the International Football Association Board (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 issue has come to prominence following Scotland’s elimination from the women’s World Cup after Argentina were asked to retake a stoppage time penalty, from which they equalised, because the goalkeeper was judged to have been off her line.
Three penalties have been retaken at the World Cup in France because the goalkeeper did not have at least one foot on the goalline, sparking a debate on VAR ruling on the matter.
The Premier League did not comment on the decision to not use VAR in such instances but a source corroborated the Times report, stating that the PGMOL’s stance would be reviewed during the season.
A PGMOL official did not immediately respond to a Reuters email for comment.
Many have criticised the new rule with former United States goalkeeper and 2015 World Cup winner Hope Solo saying penalty takers should not get “freebies” simply because the goalkeeper stepped off her line.
“A goalkeeper inching off their line before the kick doesn’t help, and it hurts the spirit of the game when VAR calls back penalties and keepers get cards in these scenarios,” Solo wrote on Twitter.
“If a shooter misses, they shouldn’t get a freebie simply because a goalkeeper moved slightly forward.”
Manchester United goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain said penalties already favoured attackers and the new rule only made it easier for them to score.
“From a goalkeeper’s perspective you’re trying to read the players movement, body shape and run up but if you can’t react until after they’ve kicked it, you’re never going to be able to move in time,” she said in a tweet.
“A penalty is already massively weighted in favour of the attacker! Do they need more?”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)