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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30715

Law 15 - Throw In 9/4/2016

RE: comp Adult

david of town center, vt usa asks...

Years ago I was told ' For a throw in, feet must be behind, not on, the line. Now feet are allowed onto the interior of the field as long as they touch a portion of the line' Has the rule changed?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi David
The law has not changed. It has been that way for a very long time. . Even when it was Law 5 which was a lifetime ago the law stated that * part of each foot shall be either on or outside the touchline*.
The current wording in Law 15 is *have part of each foot on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline*
Says the same thing. Now you are not alone in this. Myths develop because someone was *told* that the feet had to be behind the line. That plainly is not the law. For a throw in to incorrectly taken all of the foot must be over all the line.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi David,
You were simply misinformed - although I confess, when I started refereeing I had the same misconception!
The feet are, and always have been, allowed to be on the line. So front of the foot on the field and heel on the line is fine. Strictly speaking if that heel lifts it's no longer on the line, but a referee is unlikely to call such a minor infringement.
Interestingly, I often see players throw the ball down the line so they are almost parallel to the field - the front foot is in the correct position, but the back foot drags across to be fully on the field!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove


Unless you are a bit older than most participants on this site, I doubt that this was correct when you were told it. There was a short period of time when this was true - from 1925 to 1932. In 1925 the law was altered to say, 'The player throwing the ball must stand with both feet on the ground outside the touch-line ...'

This was changed in 1932 to 'on or outside the touch-line' - and the law has stayed essentially the same ever since.

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