Referee Articles

The issue that currently generates much discussion in soccer is the penalty kick, because when there is  some contact between the defender and the attacker, or any unintentional handling of the ball in the penalty area,  players, according to their team, will ask the referee to impose the maximum punishment on their opponent.

Penalty Kick history

The penalty has its origin in Ireland 132 years ago, when an incident with certain aspects occurred during a match and served as the motive for the creation of such a special restart.
Can you imagine the anger or frustration, which erupted at the time when a defending player caught the ball with his hands under the crossbar and prevented a goal, especially because at that time there was not a glimpse of a penalty kick being imposed as punishment.


There was no corrective remedy
At that time the proper restart for these offenses was simply a free kick a few inches (2 yards) from the goal and the goal line. The "scandal" intensified when the defending goalkeeper placed himself in front of the ball and easily controlled it.


Found solution
The early origin of the penalty kick probably lies in Rugby football, as shown in early match reports, for example in 1888: "Dewsbury was awarded a penalty kick in front of the goal". The concept of a penalty goal for fouls within 2 yards (1.8 m) of the goal was suggested at a Sheffield FA meeting in 1879.


The invention of the penalty kick is also credited to the goalkeeper and businessman William McCrum in 1890 in Milford, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.  The Irish Football Association presented the idea to the International Football Association Board and finally after much debate, and after a blatant goal-line handball by a Notts County player in the FA Cup Quarter-Final against Stoke the board approved the idea on 2 June 1891.
A similar incident in Scotland in a match between Airdrieonians and Heart of Midlothian also contributed to the call for the penalty kick,  which came into effect in the 1891-92 season. The first ever penalty kick was awarded to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their game against Accrington at Molineux Stadium on 14 September 1891. The penalty was taken and scored by 'Billy'


Benefit for the game
The invention of the penalty kick promoted the scoring of goals, prevented the proliferation of fouls in the penalty area and gave rise to other changes that made this sport a true spectacle. Today, instead of recognizing it as a penalty which does not deserve discussion, those watching a soccer game are likely to protest if it was or was not a penalty, and use it as a means of placing the blame for the outcome of a match on the referee, forgetting that since its inception this necessary punishment helps to avoid worse problems and to make things easier for all of us.

Source: Jose Borda, Revista Arbitros