Messi and Suarez’s joint penalty

Several people have asked about the ‘joint’ penalty kick by the FC Barcelona duo, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. I didn’t see it but it appears that Messi is the designated penalty taker for the team, but he didn’t want to rob his team mate of a hat trick. Instead of trying to score he kicked the ball a short distance for Suarez to follow up to score his third goal. “Was it legal within the Laws of the Game?” has been the question most asked.

This is not a unique occurrence. It has been tried before; the most renowned occasion was by two of the French Legion at Arsenal, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires after practising it on the training field. Their plan was for Henry to gently kick the ball forward a few inches (or in his case centimetres) for Pires to run onto and dribble it into the goal The problem on that occasion was that the penalty mark was in a little hollow and with Henry’s too soft  kick it rolled back

Mike Riley, now head of Premier League referees, was the referee, and the movement of the ball deceived him into thinking Henry had played it a second time He therefore awarded a free kick to the opposing side

When contemplating such an action there are couple things to consider to keep it within the laws, First the ball must go forward, as I assume the Messi/Suarez kick did. If it goes sideways or backwards the kick has to be retaken as it is not in play. The other thing to remember is that it is not the referee’s whistle that puts the ball in play; it is the forward kick of the ball. Therefore, the second player must wait behind the ball and outside the penalty area or the arc until the kick is taken. If he encroaches and then plays the ball, it will again be an indirect free kick to the opposing team.

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