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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 30720

Law 15 - Throw In 9/6/2016

RE: Youth to adult, comp and rec.

Barry Stewart of Chilliwack, BC Canada asks...

This question is a follow up to question 30715

I know what the Laws say about feet on or behind the line at throw-ins but is there any sensible reason why the line touch is allowed?

The sideline is part of the playing surface, unlike in basketball or gridiron football, so it would be logical that the thrower should not be allowed to step into the field while handling the ball.

If the thrower is facing down the line and has his feet fore and aft on the line, he would most certainly be handling the ball in the field of play, from wind-up to delivery.

A defender handling the ball ON the penalty area line could get stung with a PK foul, yet the thrower gets a free pass. Simply trifling?

This year, the Laws were cleaned up to make them more consistent. I'd say they missed one.

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I've heard it comes from ancient history. Long ago, players had to take a throw-in with both feet on the line, and throw it perpendicular to the line.

When the restrictions about direction went away, the part about feet on or behind the line remained as an artifact.

There's really no useful reason for it to remain any more, but IFAB probably figured there wasn't much to be gained by making the players have their feet completely behind the line either.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Barry,

Ref Voshol is right in saying that this goes back to the original concept of the throw-in, when the ball had to be thrown-in 'at right angles with the boundary line' although the original laws of 1863 did not actually specify anything about foot position. As an interesting little trivia side-note, it also didn't matter back then, who touched the ball last, the ball would simply be thrown in by the first player to reach it after it crossed the side line.

By 1889 this had changed to say that the ball should be thrown-in by 'a player of the opposite side to that which kicked it' and it could be thrown in any direction but that it must be thrown with both hands. In 1895 it was specified that the 'player must be standing on the touch line and must not be allowed a run.' This remained the case until the short period of 7 years from 1925-32, when the feet had to be outside the touch-line. From then on, the law (as regards foot position) has remained pretty much as it is today.

Further to that I have often seen it said (on this very site, even) that the throw-in is just a fairly innoccuous way of getting the ball back into play and many perceived infractions of it are often not infractions at all. Trying to get too picky by changing the laws on exact foot positioning would not lead to any great improvements in the game IMHO and would just lead to a whole bunch of retakes which would not serve any particularly useful purpose.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Barry
I dont think so. It is just too picky to penalise part of the foot over the line. Players are concentrating on the location and direction of the throw not exact foot positions.

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