Tag Archives: Laws of the Game

The Controversial PK in LAFC vs. SKC: Interpreting the Rules



This discussion comes about as a result of a play in the Los Angeles FC vs. Sporting Kansas City game of August 11, 2018. In the 66th minute of the game, the referee awarded SKC a penalty kick as a result of a foul in the box. On the play, LAFC’s goalkeeper blocks the initial shot, resulting in a bouncing ball about 6 yards from the box. The ball is about chest high, and Felipe Gutierrez of SKC attempts a diving header. At the same time, LAFC defender Dejan Jokovic attempts to clear the ball, but also kicks Gutierrez in the head. The debate our hosts had on twitter centered around whether the defender played the ball first and if that actually matters. To help explain the call on the field, we must first turn to the rules.

The game of soccer is governed by the International Football Association Board’s Laws of the Game, and this article will use the 2018-2019 version. Law 12: Fouls and Misconduct applies to this case. Article 1: Direct free kick, states the following relevant parts:
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