A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

World: UPDATED - Laser pointer may have affected World Cup goal; Algerian team fined USD $56,170

A Russian goalie, playing in a June 26 2014 World Cup match, had a laser pointer aimed on his face just before Algeria scored a game-tying goal that eliminated Russia from the competition.

Russian team manager Fabio Capello blamed the defeat on biased officiating and on the laser incident: “Our goalkeeper was affected by a laser 10 seconds before the goal. He was blinded by a laser, there are photos, films of it.... You can see that in the footage. This not an excuse, it is a fact. There was a laser. I have never come up with excuses to get by in my entire life.”

Russia Algeria laser pointer World Cup 01

Russia Algeria laser pointer World Cup 02
Two views of the laser on Russian goalie Igor Akinfeev.


In the 60th minute, after play had stopped for a free kick, a laser beam was repeatedly flashed in goalie Igor Akinfeev’s face. He stood up, and yelled and motioned at the referees to get them to try to stop the laser, as shown in the GIF animation below.

Russia Algeria laser pointer World Cup anim

Then, as play resumed, Akinfeev was again hit near his eye. He appeared to misjudge the ball’s flight, leaving the goal exposed:

Russia Algeria laser pointer World Cup anim 02


According to The Verge, “It’s difficult to tell quite how much Akinfeev was affected by the beam — the Russian doesn't blink or wince as it rakes across his face.”

The game took place at the Arena de Baixada, in Curitiba, Brazil. The final 1-1 score was not unexpected. For example, a preview published prior to the game by SportsKeeda foretold the 1-1 outcome: “Given that Algeria only need a draw to go through, they might not go out and attack in the second half, if the game is in the balance. Russia on the other hand, need to, but their misfiring attack is unlikely to score too many past Algeria. So expect a draw with Algeria going through and Russia going home. Predicted Scoreline: Algeria 1 – 1 Russia.”

FIFA, the world football governing body, in its publication Stadium Safety and Security Regulations recommends a ban on “Any item that could distract the players and/or officials, including laser pointers...” It is not known if the Arena de Baixada had such a ban in place or was actively searching all entrants for laser pointers.

From Fansided.com, Yahoo Sports, the Daily Mail, The Verge, SportsKeeda, and Larry Brown Sports.

UPDATED June 30 2014: The Algerian Football Union was fined 50,000 swiss francs (about USD $56,170) by FIFA, which has the power to fine clubs for their fans’ behavior. From the Voice of Russia.

Russia: Teen fatally stabbed for pointing laser at St. Petersburg man

A 17-year-old boarding school student was brutally stabbed to death by Vitaly Torsky, 38, after aiming a laser pointer directly at him. Torsky could receive up to 15 years in prison for the murder. It happened in early July 2013 on Leningrad Street, in the north of St. Petersburg.

From RIA Novosti