Tunisia v Serbia and Montenegro. August 17, 2004. The Olympic Games in Athens. Nikola Milojević hunkers down on his goal line with his hands on his knees.
Astoundingly, the Serbian goalkeeper is about to face his fourth penalty kick in just two minutes. With the game tied at 1-1, Tahitian referee Charles Ariiotima has already ordered Tunisia to retake their 78th-minute spot kick three times because of encroaching attackers. For his part, Tunisian midfielder Mohamed Jedidi cuts a fairly forlorn figure; he has now beaten Milojević three times without forcing a change on the scoreboard.
The mood around the stadium is one of incredulity.
The Tunisians have now (very dramatically) withdrawn all of their players from the vicinity of the penalty area, so there’s no threat of encroachment this time around. Surely this one will count?
Jedidi steps up… Milojević saves! The drama is over… Or is it?
The assistant on the endline has raised his flag. The Serbian No. 1 advanced from his goal line before the ball was kicked so Ariiotima is signalling for yet another retake.
Milojević puts his hands on his head and wheels away into his goal, completely dejected. The ref is surrounded by angry Serbians and Montenegrins. Andrija Delibašić squares up to the assistant and when Ariiotima intervenes, Delibašić genuinely looks as though he might actually kill him. The whole thing has descended into farce.
Take five. It’s Jedidi again. Up he steps… Another save! But Jedidi heads home the rebound! That’s the end of that!
Wait… The flag is up again. Milojević stepped off his line again. If Jedidi wants to give Tunisia the lead, he’ll have to do it at the sixth time of asking.
With 82:08 on the clock (four minutes after the initial penalty was awarded), Jedidi steps forward and smashes the ball into the bottom corner. He turns and looks anxiously at the referee, who points at the centre circle and calmly jogs back towards the halfway line.
Tunisia eventually run out 3-2 winners (neither side qualified for the knockout stages) and so endeth one of the most bizarre passages of play in the history of association football.
You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with Killarney. What connects this crazy soccer incident involving a Serbian, a Tunisian and a Tahitian at the Athens Olympics, and a small town in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland?
Well, on a balmy Saturday evening in June of 1905, the International Football Association Board convened at the Lake Hotel on the banks of Lough Leane where they decided, among other things, that goalkeepers must stand on their goal line for penalty kicks.
Since 1886, the IFAB have been the guardians of the Laws of the Game. Initially comprised of the four football associations of the “home nations” (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales), the group is now made up of the four British football associations plus FIFA. They are the only body authorised to make changes to the rules that govern the game of soccer.
That AGM in Killarney in 1905 was the first time the IFAB met outside of the modern-day UK and they have only met in what is now the Republic of Ireland on one other occasion (Donegal in 1909).
The minutes of the Killarney meeting outline a number of significant rule changes, some of which are still in use to this day.
As well as the amendment which stipulates that a keeper must “not advance beyond his goal line” for penalties (the previous law simply stated that keepers must stand in their “goal area”, i.e. six-yard box), another notable “Killarney rule” changed how referees carried out a drop ball.
Prior to 1905, drop balls in soccer were actually more akin to hop balls in Gaelic football in that the referee threw the ball up into the air.
A motion proposing that the ball be dropped to the ground before players can challenge for it was passed in Killarney, and that law was in effect right up until last year when the IFAB removed the competitive element of the restart. The ball is still dropped to the floor, however, as has been the case since the landmark AGM in the Lake Hotel.
Another rule stipulating that goals may only be scored from certain free kicks was also agreed upon and this is still around, albeit in slightly different terms. Nowadays such free kicks would be classed as “direct”, while others would fall into the “indirect” category.
It was also decided that defenders had to stand at least six yards back from an opposition free kick (this was subsequently pushed back to 10 yards in 1913) and that the outer casing of footballs must be made of leather.
[caption id="attachment_32696" align="aligncenter" width="573"] The meetings of the IFAB meeting in Killarney in 1905.[/caption]
Some other minor resolutions were made on the night and after a vote of thanks was passed to presiding chairman DW Foy of the Irish FA, the meeting came to an end.
It’s amazing to think that our sleepy little town and the Lake Hotel played a small role in defining the global game. Whenever a goalkeeper strays from their line for a penalty, be it in a park in Lagos, or in the World Cup final, or on a beach in Rio de Janeiro, they’re breaking a rule that was made in Killarney.
It really is fascinating.
But maybe don’t mention it to Nikola Milojević.
New Patient Advocacy Service offering support to Kerry people
A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a complaint about the care they have received in a public hospital. The service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a Health Service Executive […]
A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a complaint about the care they have received in a public hospital.
The service provides free, independent and confidential information and support to people making a formal complaint about their care in a Health Service Executive (HSE) funded public acute hospital.
People in the Kerry area looking for support can contact the Patient Advocacy Service confidential helpline on 0818 293003 to speak to a trained advocate who will help them to get information on the HSE’s complaints investigation process, called ‘Your Service, Your Say’.
The professionally trained independent advocate will support and empower the person making the complaint, with the aim of highlighting their views and concerns.
The advocate will explain to the person how to write a formal complaint and what to include in it. They will also help the person prepare for meetings with the HSE about their complaint, and they will help the person explore their options following a response from the HSE to their complaint.
“Until now, people in Kerry and across Ireland who experienced difficulties in the Irish health service often felt there was nowhere for them to turn,” Service Manager for the Patient Advocacy Service, Claire Lehane, said.
“The newly established Patient Advocacy Service offers patients the guidance and information they need to make a complaint when they are unhappy with the care they receive. It is free, independent and run by our professionally trained patient advocates who will use their compassion and knowledge to guide people through the HSE complaints process.”
The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 10am until 4pm, including lunchtimes. You can also email email@example.com or for more information see patientadvocacyservice.ie.
New Kerry Dublin flight takes off
By Sean Moriarty The Kerry-Dublin air route returned to the skies for the first time in nearly seven weeks today (Wednesday). Budget airline Ryanair has taken over the route following the collapse of Stobart Air on June 12. At around 1pm, one of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed at the airport after completing its 50 minute […]
By Sean Moriarty
The Kerry-Dublin air route returned to the skies for the first time in nearly seven weeks today (Wednesday).
Budget airline Ryanair has taken over the route following the collapse of Stobart Air on June 12.
At around 1pm, one of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft landed at the airport after completing its 50 minute journey for Dublin.
Less than 25 minutes later it was back in the sky again for its return journey to the capital.
The flight will operate once a day until September 1 when the frequency will increase to twice daily.
“We are happy to report a positive start to the service which has been absent since early June,” the airport’s CEO John Mulhern told the Killarney Advertiser. “Ryanair intends to operate the route once a day until the end of August and has committed to restoring a twice-daily service from September.”
The route is operated on a commercial basis by Ryanair. Since 2011, Aer Lingus, through its subsidiary Aer Lingus Regional or its partners Aer Arran and Stobart Air operated the flight as a Government support Public Service Obligation (PSO). Previously, between 2008 and 2011 Ryanair operated the route on a commercial basis but withdrew at short notice as it could not make it profitable.
New Patient Advocacy Service offering support to Kerry people
A newly established Patient Advocacy Service is offering support to people in the Kerry area who want to make a...
New Kerry Dublin flight takes off
By Sean Moriarty The Kerry-Dublin air route returned to the skies for the first time in nearly seven weeks today...
Water tanker available at Rock Road car park
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Rowers qualify for ‘B’ final at Olympics
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12 to 15 year-olds to be offered COVID vaccine
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