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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35192

Law 15 - The Throw In 11/2/2023

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


one quick question, please.

A player takes a free kick, corner kick or throw-in. Is the opponent allowed to jump before the ball is in play? Let's say he jumps repeatedly or just once.

One scenario: A player takes a throw-in. The opponent keeps a distance of two meters and repeatedly jumps. Or just once. The ball is not in play yet. Is it allowed?

(Alternatively, he does something similar before free kick or corner kick.)

Thank you very much!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
An opponent may not unfairly distract a thrower at the taking of a throw in and to do so is a caution. Repeatedly jumping up and down even more that two metres away is likely to be considered distracting and unsporting behaviour by many referees.

Most referees will be proactive here and request the opponent to desist. If the throw is taken and the action interferes with the throw the opponent is cautioned and the restart is an IDFK.

Thankfully it does not happen too often and the ones that interfere do so within the two metres to prevent the quick throw which is an easy caution to decide.

On the free kick or corner kick opponents must be ten yards away so the jumping usually only happens in an attempt to stop the ball rather than an effort to distract. If one accepts that a goalkeeper can move about at a penalty kick without touching the frame of the goal or the net we can accept that it is allowed and not something that referees need to deal with.
Older referees will recall a time when it was frowned on to jump up and down at a restart and it was seen as unsporting and it could be dealt with. If one looks at rugby the opponents stand motionless while a place kick is being taken and generally the crowd is respectful.
In soccer that day is long past so unless the opponents moves closer than the 10 yards at kicked restarts referees do not get involved.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
As my colleague ref McHugh mentions, it is an offence to unfairly distract an opponent at the taking of a throw in. The law does not define what exactly constitutes unfair distraction but I'm fairly sure any referee would consider jumping up and down repeatedly to meet the definition. If the player were to jump up just once and then desist from any further such activity, that's not as clear to me. But as my esteemed colleague further points out, a wise referee would probably warn the player at this point anyway.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Petr,
although the LOTG do state it is misconduct to unfairly distract, is jumping up and down from the proper respect of distance really qualify? Certainly if it is done within the distance, it delays the restart as well as disrespects the minimum distance. It has similar concerns as would a keeper's release of the ball into play after 6 seconds. There is no distance consideration, simply actionable conduct designed to interfere and of course play is live, not awaiting restart as is a throw or free kick .

Personally, for me, it would have to be pretty theatrical and perhaps verbally assisted to consider such an action constitutes true interference. Tactically by jumping making it harder to put a free kick OVER the wall or (under if you jump) it is why the odd player laying on the ground in behind a wall at times is well within an opposing players right to do so. Mind you the arms better be in tight as a handling call or tripping could result on impact in doing such maneuvers.

I am imagining a bunny hopping lunatic where perhaps a proactive referee might have a word to desist if it truly was distracting but I have rarely interfered, only cautioned for the handling should the ball itself strike the arms away from the body (ie bigger) or restricting the keeper release if the action was, in my opinion, interference.

I once cautioned the thrower for striking by throwing a ball into the opponents face who did not jump simply stood there 2 meters away hands behind his back . I might have dropped the ball on that decision so to speak? Technically it could have been a red card for VC as it seemed deliberate but I was considering the thrower at 5 foot 3 and the opponent at 6 foot 6.
In the same vein I have had a player jump up on a throw in and take it in the face . Restarted with a drop ball for the injury as the thrower did nothing wrong .

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