Ruling on the goalkeeper’s position for penalties will be left to the on-field officials in the Premier League next season, after controversial calls at this summer’s Women’s World Cup.
It has been revealed that referees chiefs are determined to avoid the situation seen in the recent France and Argentina matches in which missed penalties were allowed to be retaken, and were subsequently scored.
This tournament is the first in which a new rule has been introduced which requires goalkeepers to have at least one foot on the goalline as the kick is taken, but that has led to two high-profile controversies in the past week.
On Monday, France’s Wendie Renard saw her penalty hit the post against Nigeria in Rennes, only to be allowed to retake it because goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie was judged to have moved off her line by VAR.
Renard scored the subsequent penalty and took France through to the last-16 as Group A winners.
Then on Wednesday, with Scotland leading 3-2 against Argentina in Paris, Scottish goalkeeper Lee Alexander was ruled to have moved off her line to save a 94th minute Florencia Bonsegundo spot-kick.
Again, the Argentinean forward was allowed to retake to her kick and scored the second time around, agonisingly knocking Scotland out of the tournament.
On both occasions the decisions were entirely correct in terms of the new rule which has been introduced, but the harshness of them – especially considering a goalkeeper’s natural instinct is to dive forward when facing a penalty – led to widespread criticism.
VAR will be introduced to the Premier League for the very first time for 2019/20, but league chiefs are determined to keep as much authority as they can with the on-field officials.