Goalkeepers at the Women's World Cup will not be shown yellow cards for leaving their line early during penalty kicks in shootouts during the knockout stage, the International Football Association Board confirmed on Friday.
According to the IFAB, the group's board of directors approved FIFA's request for a temporary dispensation from the rule, which states that goalkeepers must be cautioned if they are caught encroaching and has been a lightning rod at the Women's World Cup in France. The rule change only applies to shootouts, according to IFAB's announcement.
"Both FIFA and the IFAB ... believe that the requirement to caution an offending goalkeeper in Kicks from the Penalty Mark (KFPM) in matches with Video Assistant Referees is not necessary and risks unfairly distorting the KFPM if a goalkeeper is sent off," the IFAB said in a statement.
The IFAB added that it still "fully supports goalkeepers being penalized for not conforming with the Laws of the Game and gaining an unfair advantage."
Penalty controversy has dominated this summer's tournament. During Scotland's 3–3 draw with Argentina, goalkeeper Lee Alexander appeared to have helped secure Scotland's first victory at the Women's World Cup–and keep the side in contention for a knockout berth–when she blocked Florencia Bonsegundo's effort deep into stoppage time. VAR reversed the call and led to Alexander being booked for being inches off of her line during the save. The referee ordered the penalty to be retaken, and Argentina scored to knock Scotland out of the competition.
The IFAB clarified that the temporary dispensation does not apply to penalty kicks during "normal time," since "goalkeepers have already received cautions for this offense during the tournament and it would be unfair to change at this point of the competition.
"The IFAB believes that this request could bring greater fairness to the FIFA Women’s World Cup; the experience gathered will enable further consideration of the impact of VARs on penalty kicks, and especially KFPM, in the future," the IFAB said.
The round of 16 kicks off on Saturday when Germany takes on Nigeria at 11:30 a.m. ET.