ABBA penalty shoot-out trial by Uefa

Uefa will launch ABBA penalty shoot-out trial during the European Under-17 Championship finals. It means that Team A starts, followed by two kicks from Team B, and so on. The ABBA penalty shoot-out trial will be used in both the Women’s tournament in the Czech Republic and the Men’s tournament in Croatia. The order of penalty kicks taken by teams in shoot-outs will be changed. It’s part of the “fair play” initiative started by lawmakers of The IFAB and supported by Uefa.

Bobby Madley explains ABBA

During the PL Asia Trophy the ABBA penalty shoot-out will also be used. Referee Bobby Madley explains it to you on video. Below that you can read a written explanation as well.


The team that starts the penalty series has a higher chance to win, because the mental pressure will be higher. The starting team has the advantage to come in a leading position.  “The experiment is looking at whether the advantage for the team taking the first penalty in a pair of spot kicks in a shoot-out could be reduced”, says Uefa. IFAB has said the chance to win if you start a penalty series is about 60%.

ABBA penalty shoot-out trial

How the ABBA penalty shoot-out trial works

  • 1st kick: Team A – 2nd kick: Team B
  • 3rd kick: Team B – 4th kick: Team A
  • 5th kick: Team A – 6th kick: Team B
  • 7th kick: Team B – 8th kick: Team A
  • 9th kick: Team A – 10th kick: Team B

In the case of equality

• 11th kick: Team B – 12th kick: Team A

If still equal

• 13th kick: Team A – 14th kick: Team B, (and so on)

What it means for the referee

As a result, the ABBA penalty shoot-out trial does only need some admin changes for the referee. The procedure before starting the penalty series is the same. Uefa explains: “In the penalty shoot-out, as is currently the case, the referee will first toss a coin to decide which end of the pitch the penalty kicks will be taken at. And, as now, he/she will then toss the coin again, and the team winning this toss will decide whether to take the first or second penalty.”

Your thoughs of this trial?

What are your thoughts on this new trial? Please share them below.

Week 7 Laws of the Game Quiz

The first quiz of October was made quite well by all of you. I’ve added a screenshot somewhere during last week where you can see the most difficult question with 15% of you giving the wrong answer (at that moment).

Q1 of Week 6's quiz

The answer is in the Laws of the Game on page 46. “The referee stops, suspends or abandons the match for any infringements of the Laws or because of outside interference.” An example that was named: “if a spectator blows a whistle which interferes with play – play is stopped and restarted with a dropped ball.”

The new quiz is online now. It’s an “offside special”. Good luck with it!

Terms and conditions

Please find the Terms and Conditions plus links to previous quizzes on the Quiz Page.

Week 6 Laws of the Game Quiz

How were the referee quizzes in September? I hope you enjoyed them. I’ll announce the winner of the goodies as soon as possible. I’m just back from my holidays so it probably will be next week.

There’s one new thing this month. In September everybody had the chance to fill in the questions during the whole month. Now everyone can fill in the forms to win some goodies until the next quiz is online, a week later also at 12 pm (CET). One week should do and makes it also easier to manage for me.

Good luck with the first test of October!

Terms and conditions

Please find the Terms and Conditions plus links to previous quizzes on the Quiz Page.

Week 1 of Laws of the Game Quiz

Dutch Referee Blog will give you the opportunity to practice the Laws of the Game in a weekly Quiz. These will be released every Friday at 12pm (CET).

It is possible to only do the quizzes for personal practice, but it’s also possible to win some referee goodies. Refsworld UK has made these available for Dutch Referee Blog’s Laws of the Game Quizzes. The monthly prize will (randomly) be alloted to one of the contestants who scored the most points in a particular month. If you want your weekly scores to be summed up, make sure you write down the same email address and user name every week. If you just want to practice, you can leave these fields empty.

At the end of the quiz you have the option to subscribe to the weekly newsletter. It’s not an obligation and it will not increase your chances to win a prize. It can be a reminder for you to make the test (a link will be in the newsletter) plus you get notified of other interesting referee stories.

Good luck with the questions below. If you have suggestions or want to let me know if they’re too easy or difficult, contact me at

Terms and conditions

Just a few things here:

  • By filling in this form you accept the terms & conditions of this contest mentioned below
  • You can participate only once in each quiz. If you enter more times, only the first entry will be part of this competition
  • It is FREE to participate
  • Dutch Referee Blog may publish your username in a ranking at the end of the month and/or as winner of the montly prize
  • Your e-mail address will NOT be shared with someone else. You write the e-mail address down so I can get in touch with you for your postal address if you have won.
  •  I’d love you to get my weekly newsletter, but that happens only if you really want to receive it. If yes, tick the box at the last question. So you will NOT automatically get the weekly newsletter.
  • You can take part in the quiz until exactly 7 days (Friday at 12pm CET) after the last quiz of the month has been released. After that the quizzes are still available online, but you can’t win prizes any more.
  • A winner will be randomly selected under participants who scored the most points (every correct question is 1 point) in a month. The winner will announced on Dutch Referee Blog or it’s social channels and also will be contacted via the submitted e-mail address.
  • The winner needs to reply within two weeks notice after the announcement to give his postal address, otherwise another winner will be selected.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me on

When goalie leaves goal-line at penalty kick: yellow and retake

Goalkeepers who leave their goal-line too early at a penalty kick should get a yellow card and the kick needs to be retaken. That’s what Pierluigi Collina, Uefa’s head of refereeing said on a press conference.

The Italian former referee is referring to the penalty in the game between Croatia and Spain. Sergio Ramos was taking a penalty kick in the game against Croatia and at the moment he touched the ball, Croatian goalie Subasic was already two metres from his goal-line. “Unfortunately, that goalkeeper moved forward, it was not spotted by the referee’s team,” Collina told the 12 remaining referees during a briefing. He also explained it to the journalists at the press conference. “It was a mistake in a match refereed well.”

On different occasions Björn Kuipers has told that this incident has sent him home during the 2016 European Championship.

Goalie leaving goal-line at penalty kick

New Laws of the Game

The new Laws of the Game say this about the penalty kick:

Assistant referees indicate when at penalty kicks, the goalkeeper moves off the goal line before the ball is kicked and if the ball crosses the line; if additional assistant referees have been appointed the assistant referee takes a position in line with the penalty mark.

The defending goalkeeper must remain on the goal line, facing the kicker, between the goalposts until the ball has been kicked.

New to the rules is the fact that a goalie is cautioned if he makes an offence and no goal is scored. It remains the same the penalty needs to be retaken.

Summary table

The summary table is made by IFAB in the new Laws of the Game, revised for the 2016-2017 season. Underlined words are new compared to the previous rule books.

Penalty kick summary

What if multiple players take off their shirt to celebrate a goal?

An interesting situation in the Ajax vs AZ u19 game. Ajax was behind constantly and scored the 4-3 in extra time of the game. Due to the victory Ajax is on top of the league table again. Matthijs de Ligt (number 3) scores the winning goal. He takes of his shirt and accepts the yellow card. But the question is: What if multiple players take off their shirt to celebrate a goal? Also two of De Ligt’s teammates took of their shirt.

What if mulitple players take of their shirt as in this Ajax game?

Want to watch a wonderful game? Check the highlights of the mentioned youth game.

Laws of the game in 2015-2016 season

The current Laws of the game state in the section “Celebration of a goal”:

“While it is permissible for a player to demonstrate his joy when a goal has been scored, the celebration must not be excessive. A player must be cautioned if: (…) he removes his shirt or covers his head with his shirt.”

Laws of the game in 2016-2017 season

Also in the updated Laws of the Game under “Celebration of a goal”:

“Players can celebrate when a goal is scored, but the celebration must not be excessive; choreographed celebrations are not encouraged and must not cause excessive time-wasting. A player must be cautioned for: (…) removing the shirt or covering the head with the shirt.”

What does this mean if multiple players take off their shirt?

In both versions of the Laws of the Game the wording says “a goal has been scored”. So it doesn’t say that the one who takes off his shirt and deserves a yellow has to be the one who scored the goal. It only mentions two facts: (1) a goal has been scored and (2) someone has taken off his shirt to celebrate a goal.

According to the letter of the law you can give three players a yellow card.

What would you decide? Please share it in the comments.

PS: I would love to hear from David Elleray, who has made “probably the most comprehensive revision of the Laws of the Game in it’s history“, what his thoughts are on this matter.

New interpretation of offside rule

The season is about to start and I’ve not yet blogged about the new interpretation of offside rule. Here you have it. IFAB issued some additional guidance about Law 11 in a recent circular. The new interpretation of offside rule is basically a change in how to look at “interfering with an opponent”.

IFAB wrote: “In addition to the situations already outlined in the Laws of the Game, a player in an
offside position shall also be penalised if he:

  • clearly attempts to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on an
  • OR makes an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to
    play the ball

The Premier League and PGMOL have made the figure below that might help you see the bigger picture.

PGMOL new offside interpretation.

Helpful definitions

Guidance definitions

“Clearly attempts”: this wording is designed to prevent a player in an offside position who runs towards the ball from quite a long distance being penalised (unless he gets close to the ball)

“Close”: is important so that a player in an offside position is not penalised when the ball goes clearly over his head or clearly in front of him

“Impacts”: applies to an opponent’s ability (or potential) to play the ball and will include situations where an opponent’s movement to play the ball is delayed, hindered or prevented by the offside player

As Mike Riley, PGMOL referee boss, summarizes it: “Previously when someone didn’t touch the ball but obviously impacted on another player, you couldn’t flag them,” he said in the Guardian. “The new guidance says if a player clearly attempts to play the ball, which is close to him and impacts on an opposing player, or if he makes an obvious action that impacts on an opposing player, that can now be penalised as offside.

Video examples

Scottish referee Steven McLean explains it with the help of some match situations. New interpretation of offside rule in video below:

What are your thoughts on the new offside rule?

PS: Have you seen the latest version of the Laws of the Game? Download you copy here.