move the goalposts

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move the goalposts

To alter the rules or parameters of a situation in such a way as to suit one's needs or objectives, making it more difficult for someone else to succeed, keep pace, or achieve an opposing objective. I hate arguing with that type of person. As soon as you start wearing down their logic, they just move the goalposts on the whole thing! We're never going to get the book design finished in time if the publisher keeps moving the goalposts every couple of months like this! Claiming victory after cutting the tax by a small fraction when in fact you had said you'd abolish it altogether is really moving the goalposts, isn't it?
See also: move

move the goalposts

If someone moves the goalposts, they change the rules or aims in a situation or activity, in order to gain an advantage and to make things more difficult for the other people involved. He was always moving the goalposts so that we could never anticipate what he wanted. They seem to move the goalposts every time I meet the required conditions. Note: You can also say that someone shifts the goalposts. The administration is shifting the goalposts and changing its demands.
See also: move

move (or shift) the goalposts

unfairly alter the conditions or rules of a procedure during its course.
1989 Dimensions Many companies have, in recent years, moved the goalposts so that those who used to qualify no longer do so.
See also: move

move the ˈgoalposts

(informal, disapproving, especially British English) change the rules for something, or the conditions under which it is done, so that the situation becomes more difficult for somebody: Our union is angry at the management for moving the goalposts during the pay talks. Every time agreement is reached they put up another obstacle.
See also: move
References in periodicals archive ?
Twenty-five injuries occurred when a goalpost fell forward, with the top crossbar striking the victim.
YOUNGSTERS' football games have been left in jeopardy after the theft of one of their goalposts.
Karen Winton, Ravenshall's sports co-ordinator, employed by the sports partnership, said: "This funding towards new, safer goalposts is a fantastic boost.
A smashed goalpost which had been padlocked to the fence on the playing fields at Caernarfon (main).
The services include undertaking urgent repairs within 24 hours and undertaking recorded inspections every 6 weeks whilst the goalpost installation is in use, and removing the goalposts when they are no longer required.
A PROTESTER who handcuffed himself to a goalpost at Goodison Park and disrupted an Everton match was banned from going to games for three years.
A FAMILY paid tribute to their "lively and energetic" 12-yearold son who died after being hit by a falling goalpost while playing the game he loved.
Three-time All-Star Dan Shanahan echoed punters' faith in Friday's GOALPOST and doesn't see Dublin ending their 50-year drought without a Leinster title.
The Maccabi Haifa player attempting to clear a Tranquillo Barnetta cross, but only managing to deflect the ball on to his own goalpost.
The Football Association too says it is working with manufacturers and the British Standards Institution to set new standards in goalpost safety.
Bradford Coroner Roger Whittaker made the recommendation at an inquest into the death of Jack Sheerin, seven, whose skull was fractured after a steel goalpost fell on him during a training session in Dewsbury in July.
In their view, the club's change of plea represented an acceptance of their involvement with the goalpost that fell and sadly crushed Casey in the summer of 2011, and they were happy with the outcome.
Recommendations from Friday's Goalpost KEVIN McSTAY Armagh 4pts 10-11 general DAN SHANAHAN Clare +9 2pts Evs Boylesports GOALPOST, your unbeatable GAA betting pullout is free in the Irish Racing Post every Friday
THE children of Ely would like to thank the Parks management for cutting the grass every fortnight, marking the football pitch, fixing the fencing and finally giving them their much-deserved goalpost.