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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35069

Law 15 - The Throw In 8/17/2023

RE: Professional

Kim Brunhuber of soccer city , Canada asks...

Kim Brunhuber
Hi, how are you?

A debate has arisen about whether it’s legal to face one direction in a throw-in, but throw in another direction ostensibly a no-look pass to an eligible teammate.

I’ve consulted the laws of the game and there’s no direct stipulation that a player throw it in the direction in which they’re facing. However referees at the amateur level always whistle for a foul throw if it’s done, and I’ve never seen it done in the professional game.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kim
Thanks for the question
The throw in is a simple construct to restart the game at the touchline.
As you know Law 15 sets out the three requirements for a legal throw
# stand facing the field of play
# have part of each foot on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline
# throw the ball with both hands from behind and over the head from the point where it left the field of play.

Now if a player is facing one way and throws the ball in the opposite direction it is very difficult to throw the ball from behind and over the head unless they adjust their upper torso. To not move the torso to face the throw in direction the arms have to get somewhat in front of the head to achieve that which is not legal.
Now there is nothing wrong with feinting to go with a throw in one direction and then at the last moment go in the opposite direction yet any time I see this the thrower has adjusted their body torso direction fully in the direction of the throw. It makes no difference the direction of the feet. There is no contortion of the arms with one arm is in front of the head which makes little sense.

Also the requirement to face the field of play can be met by throwing down the line in either direction not just at right angles to the touchline.

For what its worth the majority of incorrectly taken throw ins I see are for
# Taken from the wrong location.
# A foot fully over the touchline.
# A raised foot at the moment of the throw including running while taking a throw in
# allowing the ball to be thrown from in front of the head rather than from behind and over the head.
# The spike throw.
I rarely see what you describe other than a feint one way yet throwing the other way with no adjustment of the feet which is perfectly legal. I never see facing one way and throwing the other way which is very difficult to do and no doubt if its looks contorted will result in a foul throw.

My advice is to be consistent and only call what is blatantly obvious incorrect actions. When those are called there really is never much complaints. It is also good practice to get on the whistle early to adjust the throw in location restart. That prevents the stealing of yards and then having to call the foul throw or allowing a retake from the correct location which is wrong in law.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Kim,

If a player is facing forwards but throws it to the side, for instance, then most referees would consider this an illegally taken throw as the ball isn't being delivered from behind and over the head.

The player can twist their torso however, so they're facing the direction of the delivery even if their feet aren't.

This really only works at a standing throw.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Kim,
truly sorry I had a computer issue that prevented me from dealing with your question earlier so I posted here so it could be answered.

I reiterate my colleagues. The throw in was designed to get play restarted with a minimum of fuss. They did consider INDFK from the touchline but they seemed to result in scoring opportunities so they gave it up. lol

The BEHIND and OVER the head aspect is likely the worry factor. The feet DO NOT have to be in line , the torso can swivel . You fake pump the ball down the line, then swivel the hips and pump it up the line that is 100% legal as the ball is being thrown correctly.

If you try to look left and throw right using
a neck swivel I see nothing wrong with that either provided the ball is not coming in over the ear thus sideways as you contort the arms to adjust the direction. The feet planted and standing would be best as it would look very awkward at a run up.

The reason you never see it professionally it is not a useful or easy tactic unless you are a contortionist. WHAT is useful is understanding there is no law that says the ball needs to be throw in hard.

You can effectively throw the ball 1 inch in front of the nose and let it bounce right there along the touchline as a fast moving teammate can be on the dead run to catch the defenders unaware. Remember two meter distance . If the defenders position themselves poorly and give you the opportunity a nosedrop throw will catch them by surprise especially when a 2nd teammate makes a another dummy run way out and away trying to clear space creating the impression a long throw is in play.

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