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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34462

Law 15 - The Throw In 12/31/2021

Petr of Prague, Czech Republic Czech Republic asks...


one 'throw-in procedure' question, please.

Ball leaves player's hands and enters the field. Shortly afterwards, the player completes the movement and raises his foot into the air. Is it illegal?

Thank you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Petr,
Merry Christmas and the very best in the New year.
No, once the ball is released, a raised foot means nothing, the difficulty is in judgement?
When the body leans forward, or the player tries to run towards the line the tilt & speed makes any foot off the ground look suspicious as it is a rapid movement as opposed to a deliberate easily identifiable infraction where a player teters or jumps up into the air.. Similarly, the toe drags and the fact the after a flat stance often the arch lifts away from the ground, pulling the heel up and away ahead of the toe lifting off . Personally, I am more concerned with where the ball is thrown in then how as the procedure is fairly bendable to allow an ugly throw just not an unfair one . A flip throw for example is often thrown from a crouched position. Looks weird but as long as the feet find the ground likely to be ok.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
I once knew a referee who called an offence on every single throw in where a player moved his feet including taking steps as part of the throwing action. He was of the opinion that a player should be stood with both feet planted as part of the throwing action. Players soon learnt very quickly that any foot action would be deemed an illegal motion and a foul throw.

When I see players run up to take long throws and then as part of the throw continue on to the field of play with no stop or run up the line taking a throw those have to be completed with an illegal foot motion. Technically with the running movement a foot has to be partly in the air at the moment of the throw. I see those being called as foul throws although I also see more now being let slide certainly at higher levels.

Some players do an exaggerated toe drag to show that they are complying while others keep the feet low or a momentary stop so as to not draw attention to any possible foot fault call. Once the ball leave the throwers hand there is no possibility of a foot fault. The challenge can be to discern the moment of release.

So in your case as the ball has left the hands a player may lift his feet into the air and continue with play.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Peter,
The feet only have to be on the ground at the moment the ball is released. It doesn't matter if they were off the ground before or after that point, it only matters where they were at that precise moment.

Now, if one or both feet were only momentarily on the ground it becomes harder for the referee to judge and the player might run the risk of getting called for an improperly taken throw so obviously it's better for them if the feet are on the ground for more than just a split second but under the law, that's all that is required (in terms of foot position).

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