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

move the goalposts

Change the rules in the middle of an enterprise, usually to make it more difficult for someone to succeed. The term originated in sports that use goalposts (soccer, rugby, football) in the second half of the 1900s. It soon was transferred to other enterprises. Jo Bannister had it in Liars All (2009): “. . . if they parted one day, she’d find someone to replace him . . . He didn’t blame her for that. It wasn’t Brodie who’d moved the goalposts.”
See also: move
References in periodicals archive ?
Data about persons injured or killed by falling soccer goalposts in the United States during 1979-1993 were identified by CPSC from 1) the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (1) 2) newspaper clippings, 3) medical examiner reports, and 4) personal contacts made by soccer coaches or equipment manufacturers to CPSC.
Two sets of goalposts worth PS700 were found "mangled" at the Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen sports fields in Caernarfon on Saturday morning.
Casey was playing on a junior pitch at the village recreation ground when the goalposts suddenly collapsed.
The Connacht football final is also down for decision today and although Roscommon have home advantage at Dr Hyde Park, Kevin McStay, GOALPOST'S tipping sensation, doesn't think they have the ammunition to defend their title against Mayo.
But team representative Tracy Wing says future games may have to be cancelled if the goalpost is not returned, as the team would struggle to find the funds to replace it.
Frei's 21st goal from 37 starts was cancelled out 15 minutes later when Adoram Keisi rose unchallenged to head an Idan Tal free kick in off Pascal Zuberbuehler's right goalpost.
So the warning by David Bolger, president of the Huddersfield and District Referees' Association, about "death-trap" goalposts in this area is a blot on the game.
A CORONER has urged that regulations governing the safety of children's football goalposts should be introduced after it emerged they have caused nine deaths in 13 years.
ARMAGH legend Joe Kernan has called on the GAA to consider introducing padded goalposts following the serious head injury suffered by Ronan Clarke.
Casey Breese, 12, of Caersws, Powys who died in 2011 after a goalpost fell on himCasey Breese, 12, of Caersws, Powys who died in 2011 after a goalpost fell on him The tragedy happened at a recreation field used by Caersws Football Club in July, 2011.
The Falcons have not been without their goalpost dramas down the years, most recently in March 2008 when their scheduled Premiership date with London Wasps was postponed after a post snapped in galeforce winds.
But maybe Hughes will take solace from GOALPOST football expert Seamus Moynihan who doesn't believe the Dubs will have it all their own way at Croker.
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.
Goalpost safety was highlighted in July, 2000, after a falling post killed a seven-year-old Dewsbury boy at a summer holiday football school.
A FOOTBALLER who kicked the goalpost to get some mud off his boots was knocked unconscious when the crossbar fell on his head.