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20th Apr 2024

Fans are only just discovering what the ‘D’ on the edge of the penalty area is used for

Callum Boyle

People are also learning the real name of the ‘D’.

With football accessible pretty much anywhere and everywhere these days, you’d be forgiven for thinking that everyone watching knows the ins and outs of the beautiful game.

Some rules are obviously more important than others when it comes to the outcome of a game but there are some areas than even the most die-hard of fans will admit to not knowing.

One law in particular that has always left people scratching their head is the ‘D’ that sits on the edge of the penalty area.

While some may be unsure what purpose it serves, the majority of us will have almost certainly been calling it by the wrong name.

Instead of the ‘D’, the correct terminology is in fact the ‘penalty arc’ – which alludes to what it may be used for.

Similarly to a free-kick, any opposition players must remain at least 10 yards from the penalty taker.

To ensure that there is no encroachment during the spot-kick, players must stand behind the penalty arc and can only move once the opposition player has made contact with the ball.

The laws, as per the International Football Association Board (IFAB) website state: “The players other than the kicker and goalkeeper must be: at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the penalty mark, behind the penalty mark, inside the field of play and outside the penalty area.”

According to IFAB’s Law 14, as reported by The Mirror, penalties must be retaken if the attacking team encroaches and the team has scored or both sides encroach regardless of the outcome.

A spot-kick is also retaken if the defending team encroaches but the penalty taker fails to find the back of the net.

Alternatively, if the penalty kick taker misses but there is encroachment by the attacking side, an indirect free-kick is awarded to the defending team.

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