IFAB to debate 'double jeopardy' rule that saw Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny sent off and concede penalty against Bayern Munich

It has been argued that it is unfair for a red card and penalty to be awarded in such incidences, particularly those involving goalkeepers

A former manager of Arsenal’s north London rivals might have suggested karmic influences were in play when Wojciech Szczesny was dismissed against Bayern Munich last week. After all, it was a foul by an Arsenal player which led to a red card for a “dogso” – the word referees now use to describe a player’s action in denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. The continuing issue surrounding the handing out of red cards for such offences is on the agenda for this weekend’s International Association Football Board meeting.

When Willie Young tripped Paul Allen in the 1980 FA Cup final, as the 17-year-old headed for goal, the offence, as it was committed outside the box, was punishable only by a free-kick. TV pundit Jimmy Hill voiced his outrage and chaired a subsequent Football League committee that recommended making such fouls a red card offence.

Although IFAB (International Football Association Board), which administers the laws of the game, rejected the suggestion, the Football League acted unilaterally, tweaking the guidance given to referees. IFAB and FIFA, the game’s world governing body, eventually followed suit.

However, in recent years it has become regarded as unfair that a goalkeeper can concede a penalty, be dismissed, and serve a suspension, while his team have to make an enforced substitution and play with 10 men. Coaches have asked: Is a penalty not a very good goalscoring opportunity in itself? As Arsène Wenger pointed out, Bayern’s penalty, though missed by David Alaba, was a better chance than the one Szczesny denied Arjen Robben.

Wenger added: “Common sense says you should divide what is inside and outside the box, because denying a goalscoring opportunity inside the box is restored by the fact you get a penalty. A yellow card would have been enough, because it was not violent conduct by Wojciech.”

It was a similar incident involving the Arsenal ‘keeper which contributed to the issue being on the agenda for the IFAB meeting, which opens in Zurich on Friday.

At Euro 2012 Szczesny was dismissed after bringing down Dimitris Salpingidis. The Greek had made a clever run behind the back four, narrowly beating Szczesny to a chipped pass, but would still have had much to do to score had the ‘keeper not brought him down.

In Uefa’s technical report on the tournament this incident was highlighted. It was noted that anywhere else on the pitch the foul would not even have merited a yellow card, and that the goalscoring opportunity had been restored – in fact, enhanced – by the penalty award. The report concluded: “Is it time to review the situation?”

At Uefa’s behest it is on the IFAB agenda. They have suggested law 12 be modified to limit red cards for dogso to offences outside the area.

What is likely to happen is that the issue is passed to two new committees created to support IFAB consisting primarily of referees, ex-players and coaches. This cautious approach to tweaking the law is partly because there is a feeling that defenders may be more prepared to commit fouls in the area if the spectre of a red card is removed.

One possible solution could see defenders being issued a red card for a dogso, but not necessarily goalkeepers.

In theory Uefa could issue similar guidance to referees in their competition, rather than wait for IFAB to change the law.

In the long-term sin-bins, as used in rugby, could be part of the solution. They are also to be debated by IFAB under any other business. There is support within Fifa and Uefa for introducing sin bins, but such a dramatic change is unlikely to be brought in for several years.

Also on IFAB’s agenda

Rolling subs The FA, keen to retain players at grassroots level, have been piloting a scheme which is likely to be extended worldwide, though only in the amateur game

Head covers Fifa will allow garments such as the hijab, as worn mainly by Muslim women, and extend that right to male players

Sin-bins (any other business) Another Platini enthusiasm, a trial may be agreed, more probably it will be sent for study by the new committees

Video replays (any other business) Sepp Blatter, Fifa president, wants video to be used retrospectively to punish divers, but not during matches to assess decisions

What is IFAB?

The International Football Association Board has eight voting members, the four home nations plus another four representing Fifa. This anachronism, which dates from 1886 when the UK nations met to agree on uniform laws, has recently been challenged. As a consequence there will now be two standing committees, one technical (largely composed of referees) and a football panel (of coaches and ex-players) to advise IFAB which meets annually.

Three case studies

A trio of incidents involving Arsenal goalkeepers highlight the difficulties in laying down a fair ruling:

May 2006: Champions League final, Arsenal v Barcelona

At 0-0 with 18 minutes gone Samuel Eto’o went clear but was fouled by Jens Lehmann outside the penalty area. Referee Terje Hauge blew for a foul and dismissed Lehman for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Since Ronaldinho put the subsequent free-kick wide the red card would seem an appropriate punishment, especially as Arsenal then took the lead but, down to ten men, eventually succumbed 2-1.

However, as the loose ball had fallen to Ludovic Giuly, who rolled it into the empty net Hauge should have played the advantage, and Lehmann should not have been dismissed. The game would have remained 11v11 with Barcelona leading 1-0, a preferable outcome.

June 2012: Euro’ 2012 finals, Poland v Russia

With 22 minutes remaining the score 1-1 and Greece down to ten men, Wojiech Szczesny tripped Dimitris Salpingidis. The Greek still had work to do and a penalty was an equally good opportunity, but substitute Przemyslaw Tyton saved Giorgos Karagounis’s spot-kick and Poland held on for a point.

February 2014: Champions League, Arsenal v Bayern Munich

The game was goalless and 37 minutes old when Arjen Robben beat Szczesny to the ball and was felled by the goalkeeper’s momentum. With Robben no means certain to score the penalty (missed by David Alaba) was as good an opportunity but Nicola Rizzoli dismissed Szczesny.

Suggested Topics
News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

News
Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

Arts and Entertainment
film
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee