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 ?
The constantly shifting goals of education are necessitating change and moving the goal post from teacher-centric output to student-centric input.
The open-ended occupation of Syria could only mean one thing: US moving the goal posts and raising the stakes of armed conflict with Russia, Syria, Iran, and as events in Afrin recently show, even with NATO ally Turkey.
Doubts about Mr Skates' abilities were raised over the issue of the Circuit of Wales, where seven years and PS9million of taxpayers money were wasted, only for the single largest private investment proposal in the history of Wales to be turned down - despite comments from senior civil servants that the project provided good value for money and despite the Welsh Government trying to woo business investment whilst constantly moving the goal posts.
The DOE submitted its final interpretation of the NWPA in 1995, moving the goal posts again from 1998 to 2010.
After years of Washington moving the goal posts, Wyoming should be able to move forward with managing our wildlife.
But just because networks like Fox are moving the goal posts doesn't mean the goal posts don't exist anymore.
But Peyia councillor Linda Leblanc said that residents are concerned that the sewerage board keeps moving the goal posts and that an air of mistrust still prevails.
That's how you get full employment, George - with genuine prosperity, not by moving the goal posts.
Oh, and by the way, because the Welsh Assembly is continually moving the goal posts and changing the guidelines on how and what the children should be taught, she also had to re-write some of the curriculum and change all the system of record keeping that is used to gauge the children's progress against the Assembly's ever changing targets.
This is what you call moving the goal posts to the banks' benefit.
That is what has angered us, not the competition, but the unfairness of Liverpool moving the goal posts.
Kipp has already reported on the UAE's uneven track record with visa rules, arbitrarily changing them and so moving the goal posts for people already here and invested.
SMEs need an individual, good, bank manager who can deliver on what is required without moving the goal posts, be practically understanding and able to cut out unnecessary bureaucracy and high costs.
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