Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 34914

Law 15 - The Throw In 3/11/2023

RE: Travel and Club referee Under 15

Ben of Merrimack, New Hampshire United States asks...

When throwing the ball into play from a throw in can your foot be on the line? I’m not sure if your foot can be on the line and it gets called or if your foot has to be completely onto the field.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Ben,

The LOTG states that both feet must be ON OR BEHIND the line.

That means that you could have both feet mostly on the field with just the heels on the line, and it's a legal throw.

Now, if they lifted the heel off the line at this time, technically that makes it illegal - though I think you'd only consider being this strict if it's quite obvious - ie there's quite a clear gap between the line and their foot (both vertically and horizontally).

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Ben,
any portion of the foot on the touchline is ok even if most of the foot is inside the field

The throw in was designed as a simple way to get play restarted if a ball exited over either touchline . Its a wee bit different as in a goal kick or a corner kick results from a ball exiting over a goal line have a designated area 1 yard Corner arc and 6 yard goal area to kick it back into play. Yet essentially the concept is the same!

The ball LEFT the FOP now we must get it back INSIDE the FOP to restart the match!

In my opinion, the LOCATION of the throw in (the point it exited) is the most important aspect of the throw in procedure. A referee should , in my opinion. try to drive home that concept by pointing to the correct spot and not let them creep up more than a yard or so.
The FACT an opponent must be a mandatory two yards away from where it exited gives the thrower plenty of leeway, assuming the throw occurs from where it exited. Hard to caution a defender who is two yards away from where it actually exited yet the thrower moves up or down the touchline to be even or move past from the exit point and then complains he or she was in the way?

Not that an incorrectly taken throw is completely ignorable but far more important is where the throw occurs compared to a than a heel lift off a line or leg raises off the ground. I urge referees to think about the concepts of , trifling and doubtful and whether it is necessary within the spirit of these guidelines to find a fault for such a routine matter. Plus often the ball is leaving the hands just before the feet come off the ground & is perfectly legal.

I imagine the touch lines as a 5 inch wall of invisible water stretching straight up to the sky! Should the ball get the least bit wet on any part of it, that ball is in play. Since the throw must come from behind (and over) the head, if any part of each foot is touching the line, there's a pretty good chance that the ball is off the field at the start of the throwing motion. Given if even the outer curved edge of the ball part ball brushes the line its considered to have entered the FOP and is live, it is sort of funny the hands can still be on it. Depending on release point from behind and OVER the head to extended arms tossing said ball into the middle of the field or down at their feet the ball is ACTUALLY being handled as it enters the FOP technically a DFK lol Maybe why the feet thing is no biggie?

A correctly taken throw in can look ugly yet still be ok! BLATANT EGRIGIOUS VIOLATIONS are what you need to call, other than that, just let the kids play. It's a teachable moment when they are young as long as the association, coach, parents and referee REALIZE that as a group

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Hi Ben,

If you referee high school soccer games, please refer to rule NFHS Rule 15-1-2. It states that the ball shall be thrown in from the point where it crossed the touchline by a player who has both feet on the ground on or behind the touchline. The thrower must use both hands (unless a physical impairment prevents using both hands) and shall deliver the ball from behind and over the head in one continuous movement.

The major throw-in violation that I noticed in younger soccer players is the lifting of a foot from ground while making the throw-in. I have seldom encountered throw-ins where both feet were not on or behind the line. However, they obviously do occur.

High schools rules also require the opponents of the thrower to stand at least 2 yards from the point of throw-in being taken, and the opponents are not allowed to impede or interfere with the thrower. The penalty for this interference is a caution.

The throw-in helps to keep the game going especially if the thrower as access to a ball as soon as he/she is in position to make the throw-in. It is for this reason that high school rules require at least two proficient ball holders for each game.

When I started playing and then officiating youth, high school and college soccer, a ball that crossed the touch line was brought back into play by an indirect kick from the touchline. As you can imagine, kicking the ball in consumed much more time than the throw-in. The throw-in has added much enjoyment to the game.

I hope you have a very successful spring season of officiating.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe Manjone

View Referee Joe Manjone profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ben
The requirement is that a thrower has to have his feet behind or on the line.
On the line means just that so a player could have part of his foot over the line but as long as part of the foot is ON the line that makes it legal.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 34914
Read other Q & A regarding Law 15 - The Throw In

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.