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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34333

Law 15 - The Throw In 9/11/2021

RE: All Other

MATTHEW J PLODINEC of BRISTOW, VA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34318

This is both a follow-up and a new question. I've seen the foot on the FOP infraction in two recent cases - the field is a multi-sport field and the player went to the wrong line (agree that the ref team SHOULD warn) and the thrower is taking a quick throw at an acute angle down the line. Because he/she is focusing on the quick throw they fail to check the position of their feet.

New question and I apologize if it's been asked before...Law 15 states "on" or behind the line. Reading this an inexperienced referee might disallow a throwin where the heel was off the ground but in the vertical plane above the line. I generally like the generic way in which the laws are written but this seems to be one case in which a bit of specification might add clarity.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matthew
Thanks for the question.
Law 15 requires that the feet must be on the ground. So if the player has part of his foot on the line that is legal. The concept of plane does not apply here as the feet must be ON the ground.

The challenge will be how it looks to a referee or assistant with a raised heel with the foot on the ground. Personally I never look for trifling issues at throw ins so if the foot or part of it, that is the heel, looked like it was on the ground on the line or could be on the line that is good enough for me. I only look for obvious breaches where all of the foot is over all of the line.

An technical answer would be that if no part of the foot is ON or behind the line at the moment of the delivery it is not in line with Law 15.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Mattew,
the concept of the throw-in was simply to get the ball back into play with a minimum of fuss. Yet we seem to find a way to make easy into outrageous by finding fault in the simplest of things. The ambiguity of a foot on versus hovering over has always seemed rather silly to me.

My personal feeling of an easier to allow throw-in would simply be to have no part of the foot in the FOP or on the touchline at all and part of either foot on the ground be it a toe drag with either one to occur within 2 yards of the touchline at or near where the ball exited. Thus their throw-ins would be taken further back because the boundary line issue is CLEARLY defined.

As it is now you can be essentially on the FOP, deliberately handling the ball as you grasp it, before releasing it over the head into the field. Sigh. Why do I point that out? It is because the touchline is like a 5-inch wall of water extending straight up and if the ball is in contact with that wall be it a tiny bit wet on either side TECHNICALLY that ball is now in play!
Why is that important?
Because if the ball came into play when in the process of release, then exited via wind or a poor effort along the line, the throw-in is awarded to the opposing team.

So for LAW 15 do we worry about the exact wording or the intention which was to restart & fairly get the ball back into play?

I tend to ignore most anything other than the most obvious or blatant incorrectly taken throw-ins when it comes to style but I am fussier on where a throw-in occurs?
Because that is where it can get silly as they creep way up the touchlines to release attacks when the referees have actually POINTED to the exact spot to go from.

I often reassure the wee youth with a casual shout-out, Feet on the ground behind and over your head! We want them to succeed and not to waste time retaking throw-ins.

There are so many myths & misconceptions out there about throw-ins be it, feet can not be in the FOP, the ball can not be spinning, the ball cannot just where you carry the ball downwards past the head, not over, to SPIKE it No one said you had to throw the ball far once it was over your head.

Cries of, He lifted his foot! when the ball was already released or It was never in! When in fact the ball was wet from brushing that invisible wall no one sees. lol

Stricter enforcement at the high-end competitive levels for sure but a wee bit ugly is not an excuse for finding fault or assuming its incorrectly taken. Setting the bar or standard, keep in mind the cognitive abilities, age, skill levels, the player's expectations even the association's own ideas on retakes & re-throws when in the learning mode!

While I do think it is a better option to keep them playing rather than retaking or redoing throw-ins due to some creative theatrics but when foot faults are rampant and players feet are off the ground like leaping frogs or jumping rabbits, while tossing the ball in like it's a hot potato or grenade some calming, settle it down instructions are not the worst thing you could do.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Matthew,
The law here isn't referring to a vertical plane (which we normally consider for ball in/out of play) - so it is a simple matter of the foot being on the line.

Having said that, I probably wouldn't worry about a lifted heel, even if that does mean the foot is no longer in contact with the line. Perhaps a quick comment next time you run past that player. On the other hand, if the foot is almost entirely on the FOP - say, 90% on, and then the heel is lifted high, then this would probably become a pretty blatant infringement, so worth considering pulling up there.

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