What is a penalty – Detailed answers for football fans

If you’re a football fan, you’ve probably heard of the term “penalty” many times. But what exactly is a penalty? How is it awarded and taken? And can it be taken in different ways? In this article, we will dive deep into the world of penalties and provide detailed answers to all these questions.

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To start off, let’s define what a penalty is. A penalty, also known as a penalty kick or simply a pen, is a free kick taken in football from the penalty mark, 11 meters away from the goal. It is often a decisive moment in a match, as most penalties lead to goals. Now, let’s explore the concept of a penalty in more detail.

What is a penalty kick?

A penalty kick is a direct free kick taken from the penalty spot, located 11 meters away from the goal line and directly in front of the goal. It is awarded when a foul occurs inside the opponent’s penalty area. The objective of a penalty kick is to score a goal, just like any other shot on target.

Summary of the text:

What is a penalty kick? A penalty kick, also known as a penalty or a pen, is a free kick taken in football from the penalty mark, 11 meters away from the goal. It is often decisive in a match as most penalties lead to goals.

How is a penalty awarded?

Now that we know what a penalty kick is, let’s understand how it is awarded. A penalty is given by the referee when a foul occurs inside the penalty area. This can include:

  • A foul on an attacking player by a defending player, such as pulling, tripping, or sliding without making contact with the ball.
  • A defending player (excluding the goalkeeper) handling the ball, unless their arms are close to their body.
  • An attacking player being fouled from behind, particularly during a corner kick.

Basically, any action that is deemed unfair or dangerous by the referee inside the penalty area can result in a penalty being awarded to the opposing team.

How is a penalty taken?

Once a penalty has been awarded, it’s time for the actual taking of the kick. The ball is placed on the penalty spot, and any player from the team awarded the penalty can take the shot, with the referee’s confirmation. However, there are certain rules that need to be followed during the taking of a penalty:

  • Only the goalkeeper, the player taking the penalty, and the referee are allowed in the penalty area.
  • The goalkeeper must remain on the goal line until the ball is struck and can only move horizontally.
  • All players can enter the penalty area after the ball is struck.
  • The penalty is taken after the referee blows the whistle.

How can a penalty be taken?

Now, let’s take a look at how penalties can be taken. There are two main ways a penalty can be executed: a direct shot or combined play.

Direct shot:

The most common way of taking a penalty is by directly shooting the ball towards the goal. The player taking the penalty aims for either side of the goal or the top or bottom corners, trying to beat the goalkeeper and score a goal.

Combined play:

In this method, players pre-plan a strategy to deceive the goalkeeper before taking the penalty. This can involve a quick pass to a teammate who takes the shot, a fake shot to throw off the goalkeeper’s positioning, or a combination of both. This method requires good coordination between players and a bit of luck to pull off successfully.


Penalties are an essential part of football and can have a significant impact on the outcome of a match. It is crucial for players and fans alike to understand the rules and techniques involved in taking a penalty kick. OK9 Pub hope this article has provided detailed answers to all your questions regarding penalties and helped you gain a better understanding of this exciting aspect of football.


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