To EncroachIn this football language post we look at the phrase ‘to encroach‘ which is sometimes heard when there is a penalty to be taken. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Law 14 in football is all about the penalty and when a penalty has been awarded all of the players, except the kicker and the goalkeeper, must be outside the penalty area or box. Indeed, the players are not allowed to move into the box until the penalty taker has struck the ball. If they do move inside before the kick has been taken this is known as encroachment which is the noun form of the verb to encroach. To encroach is to advance slowly and this is what players try to do when there is a spot kick as they want to be first to the ball if there is a rebound from a keeper’s save.

Now according to the laws of the game there are different outcomes depending on who does the encroaching. So, if an attacking player encroaches and the spot kick is scored then it has to be re-taken but if it isn’t scored then an inirect free kick is given instead. If a defender encraches and the penalty has been scored then the goal stands – it is allowed. But if the defender encroaches and the penalty has been missed then the penalty kick is re-taken.

In the recent game between Leicester City and Brighton, the young Leicester attacking midfielder James Maddison scored from a rebound after the Brighton goalkeeper Matt Ryan had saved Jaimie Vardy’s spot kick. However, because he had encroached the goal was disallowed and the kick had to be taken again – this time Vardy slotted the ball home.

Example: Here’s an example from the Telegraph (from 23 November 2019): ‘…as Vardy saw his penalty saved, the rebound put in by James Maddison, but a retake ordered – apparently for encroachment – which Vardy converted.

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Learn English Through FootballWelcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Football fans can practise with lots of free language resources, including football-language podcasts and our huge football-language glossary.

EEpisode 875
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