Blog,  case study

Touching the ball twice at penalty kick: allowed or not?

Kieran Dowell touching the ball twice at penalty kick this weekend. In the cup match against Arsenal. How would you handle in situations like this?

And during last season a similar situationLeicester City got a penalty kick against Manchester City and Mahrez is the taker. He kicks the ball, but slips. The goalie protests right away and referee Robert Madley makes a quick decision. He disallows the goal, because it’s not allowed to kick the ball again before a team-mate or opponent has touched the ball.

Below another example plus an further explanation based on the Laws of the Game.

Robert Madley

And have a look at the situation below.

 Bacca also touching the ball twice at penalty kick

There’s also a similar situation in the Serie A earlier this season. In the game between Sassuolo and AC Milan Bacca touches the ball twice, but I needed a few replays to see that. At first glance it’s difficult to see what exactly happens.

Bacca touching the ball twice at penalty kick

But for the players on the pitch it was very clear. They immediately asked the referee if he had seen what they saw. Bacca’s left food slipped, so he could not take a proper kick. He shoots with his right foot, but can’t prevent it from touching his left foot as well before anyone else touches it. That extra touch gives the ball an extra spin, which puts it over the goalie, who is not able to touch the ball.

Arbiter Café on Twitter got me a clip that I could embed on the blog. Much appreciated. Please have a look and see if you can spot Bacca touching the ball twice at penalty kick. Below the video you’ll find an explanation based on the Laws of the Game.

Difficult to spot, right? Only the replays will give you a clear view of what happened.

Explanation with Laws of the Game

The Laws of the Game (page 95 and 96) are clear: “The kicker must not play the ball again until it has touched another player. (…) If, after the penalty kick has been taken, the kicker touches the ball again before it has touched another player: an indirect free kick (or direct free kick for deliberate hand ball) is awarded.”


Referees have to focus on a lot of things during a penalty kick. They don’t want players or the goalie to move too quickly, but in the end not many referees whistle when it happens. Just wanted to know from you if referees should get more strict on encroachment. Vote in this Twitter poll.

Want to read more? Check all case studies on my blog.


  • Bharat

    As while kicking he slipped & simultaneously touched twice but with one go therefore will not be considered touched twice by same player.So goal.

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      For me this is touching twice for sure, because the second touch influences the direction of the ball, so it has an impact on where the goalie needed to be.

      • Brian

        Where does it say “influences the direction of the ball” in the laws?

        If the two touches are at the same time it has to be allowed.

        The problem is that we need to define “simultaneously” – does this mean it is OK if the touches overlap, or do both feet have to touch the ball at the same time for the same length of time to be allowed…???

        • Jan ter Harmsel

          That wording is not in the laws, but if you use common sense you’d notice that if the direction of the ball changes, the touch is not at the same time.

  • Dan C. Heldman (former National Referee Instructor, USA)

    We train referees to ignore violations which are, in the opinion of the referee, “trifling” — the practical meaning of which being that the event did not affect play in any significantly adverse way for the opposing team. In a PK situation, most “2nd touch” violations are obvious and detrimental. In the violations included in this discussion, however, the compelling argument for me is that, if the second touch affected the direction, spin, or any other dynamic of the ball, then it is, by this definition, not trifling and should be treated as the Law requires. The same is true of players encroaching at a PK or of otherwise illegal goalkeeper movements — if they do not affect play, leave them alone (a verbal warning to the offender is OK). This is NOT ignoring or defying the Law — the admonition against penalizing for “doubtful or trifling offenses” has been more or less explicitly at the core of the Law for decades.

  • Toma

    Updated Question
    During a penalty shootout, the kicker legally kicks , and the goalie saves . The saved ball slowly rolls into the goal 3 seconds later. Goal
    or no goal? Wasn’t the ball dead after the first goalie save?

    • Jan ter Harmsel

      The penalty kick is completed when the ball stops moving, goes out of play or the referee stops play for any offence.

      It looks like it did not stop moving.

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