The soccer field has a lot of markings on it. While some of these markings are absolutely essential for the game (like the penalty area for example), other markings are almost useless.
Where does the penalty arc (also known as “The D”) stand on the spectrum? Well, The D mark doesn’t drastically affect the soccer game since it only comes in action during a penalty kick, but it has its use cases, and that’s what I’m going to talk about in this article.
We’ll start with the most common question first
What is the penalty arc (The D) used for in soccer?
The penalty arc (or The D), is an area that none of the soccer players should step on during a penalty kick, except for the penalty kick taker. The D area exists to make sure that all of the players other than the penalty kick taker are at least 10 yards (9.15 m) away from the penalty mark.
In other words, the arc is just there to give the penalty kick taker enough space when they are taking their kick. The penalty kick taker can rest assured that they won’t be bothered by players standing a few yards away from them while they take the penalty kick.
How important is the D mark?
Well, the D mark isn’t extremely important, however it does help the penalty kick taker by giving them the space they need.
The D mark exists to keep the consistency in the rules. During most of the set pieces that involve kicking the ball, the rules require that all of the players stand at least 10 yards away from the kick taker.
These set pieces include the corner kick, the kick off, the free kicks and so on. The penalty kick is no exception here. In other words, the penalty kick also forces all of the players other than the kick taker to stand at least 10 yards from the ball.
And, since the penalty kick is ALWAYS taken from the exact same point, it makes sense to mark the area that should only include the penalty kick taker and no one else.
Here’s how the full marked area would look like if the full circle was drawn:
You might ask, why not draw the full circle around the penalty mark like they do in the center of the field?
The answer is quite simple actually: it’s completely useless to draw the full circle of the penalty arc (The D) because the players can’t stand inside the penalty box anyways during a penalty kick. Besides if they do, then the D becomes and O (alright I’ll stop).
In other words, why add the rest of the circle and confuse the players with extra markings that add no value to the game?
What happens if a player stands inside the penalty arc during a penalty kick?
So, we now know that players can’t stand inside the penalty arc while a penalty is being taken. Well, what happens if they do?
The answer depends on who stood inside the arc during the penalty kick, and it also depends on whether or not the penalty kick was scored.
Here are the details:
If one of the opponent players stands inside the penalty arc while the penalty is taken, then:
- The penalty is retaken if the penalty kick taker does not score
- The goal is approved if the penalty kick taker scores
If one of the teammates of the penalty kick taker stands inside the arc while the penalty is taken, then:
- The penalty is retaken if the penalty kick taker scores
- The opponent team gets an indirect free kick if the penalty taker misses
But what happens if players from both teams stand inside the arc while the penalty is taken?
The penalty gets retaken whether a goal was scored or not.
Now that you know exactly what happens if a player enters the 10 yards area of the penalty kick taker during a penalty kick, let’s move on to the last question in this article.
Is the penalty arc part of the penalty area?
The penalty arc (The D area) is NOT part of the penalty area. In other words, if the goalkeeper touches the ball inside the D area, a handball is called by the referee, and if a foul takes place inside the D area, a direct or an indirect free kick is given and not a penalty kick.
In other words, the D area is only useful during a penalty kick and nothing more.
The D area in soccer is just the part of the circle centered at the penalty mark with a radius of 10 yards that is outside the penalty area. The main purpose of the D area is to keep the players at least 10 yards away from the penalty kick taker while they take their shot.