The penalty kick was invented in the year, 1890 by an Irish footballer by the name of William McGann. McGann was a goalkeeper himself, who played for Milford FC in the very first season of the Irish league.
However, it was a member of the Irish Football Association who was pivotal in making the idea of a penalty kick one of the laws of the game. Defenders were finding it easy to stop oncoming attackers from scoring a goal by fouling them close to the goal – the 12-yard area which we now know as the penalty box. The proposition to make the penalty kick a law was to prevent this very dirty trick used by defenders. The proposition was accepted, and it became a part of the rules as Rule number 13. in 1891. The law read:
“If any player shall intentionally trip or hold an opposing player, or deliberately handle the ball within twelve yards from his own goal line, the referee shall, on appeal, award the opposing side a penalty kick, to be taken from any point 12 yards from the goal line, under the following conditions: All players, with the exception of the player taking the penalty kick and the goalkeeper, shall stand behind the ball and at least six yards from it; the ball shall be in play when the kick is taken. A goal may be scored from a penalty kick.”
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