VAR: England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley calls new penalty laws ‘cruel and pedantic’ after World Cup farce

Penalty retakes have overshadowed recent matches and Wednesday’s incident saw Scotland knocked out of the World Cup as a result

Mark Critchley
Thursday 20 June 2019 17:24
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Karen Bardsley, the England goalkeeper, has described the new scrutiny on goalkeepers standing at penalty-kicks as “cruel” and “pedantic”.

Debate has raged at the Women’s World Cup this week following two high-profile incidents of penalties being retaken after goalkeeper encroachment.

New rules implemented at the start of the month specify that goalkeepers must keep at least one foot on the goal-line at the time the spot-kick is taken.

The additional scrutiny of VAR led to Nigeria’s Chiamaka Nnadozie and Scotland’s Lee Alexander being penalised this week, with each of them beaten on the re-taken penalty.

Bardsley had not seen the Scotland incident as England’s game was played at the same time, though she had sympathy for her fellow custodians.

“I don’t really have an opinion on VAR because, fingers crossed, fortunately nothing has really happened to us,” she said. “But it just seems cruel. And so pedantic, you know?

“We were briefed by the referees and they did mention that if we do move off the line... but if it’s a toenail?”

Amid fears that penalties will become too easy to score, the Premier League has chosen not to enforce the encroachment rule next season, despite introducing VAR to the men’s English top-flight.

Bardsley said that goalkeepers rarely take their position into account when staring down a penalty and questioned why rules were changed days before a World Cup.

“For something so new to be introduced on such a big stage, it’s kind of hard to get your head around it in terms of changing habits,” she said.

Karen Bardsley has criticised the introduction of new penalty rules on the eve of the World Cup

“I don’t think people are thinking about [encroachment] in the moment. We’ve always been able to move laterally but it’s strange to crack down on it.

“We were having a discussion about what happens if the taker misses the target, should it be retaken? But I’m no referee and I don’t make the rules. I just try not to break them.”

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