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The penalty area
is an area of an association football pitch
An association football pitch is the playing surface for the game of association football made of turf. Its dimensions and markings are defined by Law 1 of the Laws of the Game, "The Field of Play".All line markings on the pitch form part of the area which they define...
. It is rectangular and extends 16.5 metres (54.1 ft) to each side of the goal and 16.5 metres (54.1 ft) in front of it. Within the penalty area is the penalty spot (or penalty mark), which is 11 metres (36.1 ft) from the goal line, directly in-line with the centre of the goal. A penalty arc adjoins the penalty area, and encloses the area within 9.15 metres (30 ft) from the penalty spot; it does not form part of the penalty area and is only of relevance during the taking of a penalty kick.
Previously, penalty areas extended the width of the field, but were reduced to their current dimensions in 1901.
a player taking a penalty kick from inside the penalty area.]]
Fouls punishable by a direct free kick
A direct free kick is a method of restarting play in a game of association football following a foul. Unlike an indirect free kick, a goal may be scored directly against the opposing side without the ball having first touched another player.-Award:...
(i.e. handling the ball and most physical fouls), committed by the defensive team within the penalty area, may be penalised by a penalty kick. A penalty kick is taken from the penalty spot.
The penalty area has other functions, including:
In association football, the goalkeeper occupies a position that represents the last line of defence between the opponent's offence and his own team's goal. The primary role of the goalkeeper is to defend his team's goal and prevent the opposition from scoring a goal...
s: The area delimiting the area in which a goalkeeper may legally handle the ball;
- Goal kick
A goal kick, called a goalie kick in some regions,is a method of restarting play in a game of association football.-Award:A goal kick is awarded to the defending team when the ball goes out of the field of play by crossing the goal line when the last person to touch the ball was from the attacking...
s: The ball is not in play until it has left the area, and opposing players must remain outside the area until this time;
- Defensive direct free kicks and indirect free kick
An indirect free kick is a method of restarting play in a game of association football. Unlike a direct free kick, a goal may not be scored directly from the kick. The law was derived from the Sheffield Rules that stated that no goal could be scored from a free kick...
s: Again, the ball is not in play until it has left the area, and opposing players must remain outside the area until this time;
- Taking of penalty kicks: players other than the kicker and the goalkeeper must remain outside the area (and also the penalty arc) until the kick has been taken.