Can You Actually Pass A Penalty Kick? (Explained)

Last updated on November 14th, 2022

The penalty kick may be one of the best chances of scoring a goal. 

However, to make things more interesting, or increase the chances of a goal, a player may choose to pass the penalty to a teammate. 

So, if this happens in a match, will the goal count?

Let’s see what the football law says. 

Can you pass a penalty kick? 

According to Law 14 in the Laws of the Game, here are some things that are mentioned about how the penalty kick should be taken:

  • The player taking the penalty kick must kick the ball forward. 
  • The kicker must not play the ball again until it has touched another player
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Taking this into consideration, it means that if you kick the ball forward with a small amount of force, your teammate can score a goal.

There are two more important laws regarding this:

  1. The penalty kick is completed when the ball stops moving.
  2. The penalty kicker’s teammates must remain outside the penalty box until the kicker touches the ball

The ‘D’ on the football pitch is used to differentiate this, and you can find out more about it here.

As such, the player has to be outside the penalty box, and has to rush in to kick the ball into the net.

If he enters the penalty area before that, it will be a foul!

Why would you pass a penalty kick?

The penalty is a rare chance to score an easy goal so most players would try to play it as safe as possible and not mess up.

While it seems risky, if you’ve been practising the passing of a penalty kick with your teammates, it may come as a huge surprise to the opposing team.

This way your teammate will have an easy job of shooting the ball in an open goal!

If your coach allows you to do that, and you are sure that you and your teammate will not mess up the chance, there is no reason not to try this!

Another plus coming with this is that it looks more attractive, too! 

Famous examples of passing a penalty kick

Here are some examples of players who have passed a penalty kick before.

#1 Barcelona vs Celta Vigo (2015/16)

During this La Liga match against Celta Vigo, Messi passed the penalty to Suarez as they won the match 6-1.

#2 Belgium vs Iceland (1957)

This is maybe the oldest example of this. Rik Coppens passed the ball to Andre Piters, who failed to score, but since he touched the ball RIk was able to shoot and score.

You can find out more about whether a player can score a penalty from the rebound here.

#3 Ajax vs Helmond (1982/83)

The legendary Johan Cruyff passed the ball to Jesper Olsen who then passed it back to Cruyff leaving him with an easy job of taping the ball into an open net. 

#4 Messi XI vs World XI (2013)

In a friendly charity match, the great Thierry Henry passed the ball to Florent Malouda who finished strongly. 

#5 Arsenal vs Manchester City (2005/06)

This is one of the most famous failed penalties in Premier League history. Robert Pires and Thierry Henry had a great and attractive idea, but they failed to make it a reality!

#6 PSG vs Waasland-Beveren (2020)

In this friendly match, Neymar assisted Icardi by passing the ball from the penalty spot.

Can you pass to yourself during a penalty?

You are unable to pass the ball to yourself when taking a penalty, as the Laws of the Game only permit the penalty taker to take a second touch of the ball when it has touched another player.

Even if the ball is moving forward, you still won’t be able to pass the ball to yourself! Another player (either your teammate or an opponent) needs to touch the ball first before you can touch it again.

This is why you are able to score if your initial penalty was saved.

Can 2 players take a penalty?

It is not possible for 2 players to be within the penalty area, as the identified penalty taker is the only player permitted inside. The only way such a scenario is possible is when the penalty taker passes the ball to his teammate who was initially outside the penalty area and rushes in to score the goal.

Can you backheel a penalty?

The Laws of the Game permit a player to score a penalty via a backheel. However, the ball has to move forward for it to count as a goal.

There is no Law to prevent you from backheeling a shot, provided that the ball moves forward.

This means that you can’t backheel the ball backwards to another player to score a goal!

Here are some examples of players who scored a penalty via a backheel.

However, this is considered a rather disrespectful gesture by the player towards the goalkeeper.

Some may even consider it as showboating, and you can find out how it can result in a yellow card here.


If you choose to pass a penalty to your teammate, don’t forget to make sure that it follows the Laws of the Game!

You will need to kick the ball forward so your teammate can score. Moreover, it has to be moving when he shoots it.

To find out more about penalty shootouts, check out this guide here.

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