In the days since
Why should it be definite, though? Rules have always evolved in reaction to changing on-field practice. Even something as fundamental as the offside rule was altered as recently as 20 years ago, to encourage more attacking football, and two years later the back-pass rule was created to further the same cause. The game isn't played on paper and there should always be a preparedness to respond to what happens on the pitch.
Before we launch headfirst into this, a couple of caveats. First, it's important, for the sake of perspective, to keep in mind that the prospect of penalty goals would not have been raised had
Second, Suarez's "save" came in the 121st minute of a World Cup quarterfinal. He had a choice between acting within the laws of the game, in which case Uruguay's World Cup would undoubtedly have been over, or illegally preventing the goal, accepting his punishment and hoping for the outcome that did indeed follow. His actions are, hopefully, an exception, and not representative of the kind of trends that precipitated the rule changes I mentioned earlier.
Nonetheless, the feeling remains that Suarez was fully dealt with by soccer's laws and still justice was not done.
One of the most convincing arguments I've seen came from English referee
FIFA's reaction to any kind of proposal usually relies on the premise that unless things can be black and white, rules cannot be introduced, conveniently ignoring how many of the existing laws rely on a referee's interpretation for enforcement. Already a referee must, on occasion, surmise a tackling player's intent (unless the foul is so outrageous that intent doesn't factor), while his assistants must decide whether players in an offside position are interfering with play or "active" when a teammate looks to create a goal. In the World Cup, a Paraguay goal was wiped out because
Penalty goals would only be as difficult a disciplinary concept as soccer's governing body makes it. In rugby, a penalty try is awarded if the officials feel a certain try has been prevented by foul play, and the sport seems to manage its administration without the existential meltdown FIFA appears to forecast for its own men in black. In cricket, leg-before-wicket dismissals were drafted into the rules to prevent batsmen from prolonging their stand by protecting the stumps from the ball with their legs, and umpires have coped, by and large, with having to judge the flight of the ball in order to decide.
They may be largely British examples, and some readers have suggested that it's a British trait to fret over sportsmanlike behavior rather than enjoying the frisson given to the game by players acting like Suarez did. But
Even if we say that handling the ball somewhere in the penalty area when it appears to be destined for the net leaves far too much to interpretation (was the ball definitely goal bound? Could anyone have intervened had the ball been left alone?) ... and if we say that a goalkeeper's being drawn away from an empty net and falling down does not guarantee a goal convincingly enough to support the use of a penalty goal (