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Fifa referee chief Pierluigi Collina warns Premier League over plans to ignore new VAR penalty rules

Collina insists rules must be applied consistently across competitions

Mark Critchley
Wednesday 26 June 2019 16:41 BST
Women’s World Cup in numbers

Pierluigi Collina has warned that all competitions must abide by the laws of the game following suggestions that the Premier League will not use VAR to punish goalkeepers for encroaching on penalty kicks.

Under new regulations implemented by Fifa and the International Football Association Board, goalkeepers must have at least one foot on their line when a penalty kick is taken or risk punishment.

The rules have caused high-profile controversy at the Women’s World Cup in France, to the extent that Premier League referees plan not to enforce them when the English top-flight introduces VAR next season.

The Premier League were warned last week that the new rules are not to be implemented in such a way. “VAR must make a decision if there is a clear and obvious error of encroachment by the goalkeeper,” an Ifab spokesperson said.

Collina, the chairman of Fifa’s referees committee overseeing the officiating at the Women’s World Cup, has now added his voice to the debate, warning that the new rules must be applied consistently across competitions.

When asked about the Premier League’s plans at a Fifa briefing in Paris on Wednesday, Collina said: “I didn’t see any document in which this is written. The laws of the game are the same all over the world.

“What is written in the laws of the game has to be enforced in every country belonging to Fifa and every comp arranged by the member association of Fifa.

“I didn’t read anything. The laws of the game are for everybody,” the former referee, once considered the world’s best, added.

Collina explained that the changes are considered a relaxation to the former rule, which said goalkeepers must stay entirely on their line at a penalty kick. The former rule, the Italian said, was rarely enforced and regularly broken.

“When you are driving and you see your [speedometer], you think the [speedometer] is not working so you keep your speed. Suddenly, you get a ticket.

“What do you think? The law is wrong or you are wrong? The law exists to be enforced. If it is not enforced, we need to reason why.

“For a goalkeeper to keep both feet on the line was impossible. If they wanted to save the ball, they could not do it. If they kept two feet on the goal-line, the only way to save was to be hit by the ball.

“We shared with coaches, players. We work with them in Ifab and Fifa. We work to find common ground. The common ground was to make a step for the goalkeeper, give them help. But then if the law exists, it must be respected.”

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