Case Study: Advantage in the Penalty Area

Advantage inside the penalty area is a very rare occurrence, as we are taught to only let play continue only when there is a very high likelihood the attacking team will score. As penalty kicks are converted at an 92% rate at the highest levels, referees should be at least that sure that an advantage within the penalty area will result in a goal.

So it was a quite rare seen indeed to see referee Chris Foy allow play to continue in a recent match between Arsenal and Newcastle United.

Aresnal’s The Walcott (14) managed to squirm between three Newcastle defenders in the penalty area but was fouled in the process and fell to the ground. As the Newcastle defenders began to look at the referee to complain – expecting he was going to award a penalty – Walcott quickly got back to his feet and chipped the ball over Newcastle goalkeeper into the goal.

Referee Foy raised his arms to signal advantage, leaving the Newcastle defenders to ponder their decision not to play to the whistle.

The key learning point here is the same as for all situations where a foul occurs: waiting that extra second before blowing the whistle can pay huge dividends.

18 responses to “Case Study: Advantage in the Penalty Area”

  1. My advice to referees in this circumstance: W-A-I-T for it.

    My comeback to anyone arguing the delay in blowing my whistle–“It takes a moment to get the whistle to my mouth.”


  2. I definitely understand the advantage here. I just don’t like the double jeopardy affect. If the player hadn’t scored of his legitimate shot, one where he had a clean touch on the ball with out interference, I wouldn’t be able to give him the foul that I gave advantage for. It is the right time to give advantage, and if he had missed the shot, it would of been his fault, and yes, the attacking team then would of been mad for not calling the fouls, lol. That’s part of being a referee.
    see you on the pitch.


  3. Gutsy but correct. I hope I am in a position someday to see if I have the fortitude to follow this rule.
    All the best!


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