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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35539

Law 15 - The Throw In 5/27/2024

RE: Under 15

Tyler of Vancouver, BC Canada asks...

Hello, I have a question regarding throw ins.

The other day I was reffing a u15 match on a rainy day. For a couple throw ins, the ball kind of slipped out of the players' hands causing it to spin. All the players always stopped and wanted a foul throw, however should this be a foul throw? Both feet are on the ground, 2 hands are on the ball, and the ball was behind his head. And I seem to see this a lot, where the ball leaves the players hands awkwardly and the ball does something weird, but is still thrown into the field and those 3 rules aren't broken. I can tell what this foul looks like, but I can't explain it so it's inconsistent and some players also aren't aware of this law so I can't explain it to them. I also can't find anywhere in the LOTG that talks about this.

Should this be called as a foul throw? When should it not be called? What's the explanation for the foul (how do I explain what the foul is to the player)? What should I look for?

I know that's a lot of questions, sorry :). Thank you very much!!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tyler
Thanks for the question.

We have all been there and it is a judgement call on each occasion. If the ball slip is not pronounced meaning that its looks okay it is play on provided all the conditions for a legal throw are present.

Now where it is plainly not legal such as the ball drops like a wet bar of soap it is a judgement call for the referee to make whether to turn it over or just say
* We will have that again*. Age is the key consideration in that process.

Certainly at the lower age groups it is for me a redo (if it is a slip) rather than a turnover. If it as you say fully legal and it just looks weird I would say play on.
I watch a lot of underage games and it can be a struggle at very young age groups to deal with every single incorrectly taken throw in. If its close to legal then play on. I see some referees give a redo on the first one with instructions and then after that its a turnover for every incorrectly taken one.
At older age groups and open age it is always a turnover for me.

Here are examples

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Tyler,
Lose the term foul throw, it is either taken correctly or it is not!
Throw ins are a simple method to get the game restarted after the ball exits the FOP into touch! We certainly give youth a greater degree of leniency than adults or pros as to the standards we apply but it is a COMPLETE MYTH that a ball cannot spin on a throw in. Another myth is feet on the touchline partially into the FOP which as long as part of the foot in on the boundary lines is still ok.

The LOTG simply request the ball be delivered from behind and over the head with both hands from the point where the ball exited the FOP. THAT aspect of the throw in where players will creep up or down the line away from the point the ball SHOULD enter is probably the biggest reason to see it as an incorrectly taken throw-in. PLUS the LOTG do state a 2 meter area for defenders to withdraw so as not to be hit in the face with the throw in is compromised if the thrower can move yards up and down from where it exited!

The partial myth of feet off the ground is interesting, as ONCE the ball leaves the hands the feet can be lifted off the ground, just not before! The run up with a toe drag is often suspect as it could bobble up a wee bit yet we should not be seeking doubtful or trifling reasons to award a lose of possession for such a simple concept of getting play restarted quickly.

Another myth is the distance a ball must travel into the FOP. When in fact the ball can be released and simply falls inches away from the face of thrower it has completed all that is required by law! I am not talking a spike where the arms and hands continue downward towards the waist pounding the ball into the ground with a late release, not from over the head, but far below it.

While a referee should indicate the point on the FOP he wishes the throw in to be taken a referee must grasp that the moment the ball intersects the plane of the touchlines (think of them as a 5 inch wall of water extending straight up)if ANY portion of the ball is wet, even a tiny outside curve that ball is IN play! EVEN as the hands are still in contact EVEN if most of the ball is still outside into touch lol If the ball was to exit the FOP after making that slight contact if it was not touched, it is a loss of possession, it is not a retake of never in.

I agree whole heartedly with my colleagues that underage youth could benefit from some guidance on incorrectly taken throw ins. Offering a redo on occasion as well as some instructions as long as both coaches are not too anal on referee interference. While true we should not reward mistakes neither should we look for ways to punish them either. If it is an OBVIOUS Slip, tweet, tweet, tweet, Take it again! firmly shows it was what it was, lets just get on with it!

If you as referee recognize both teams are in limbo wondering, was that throw-in alright??? remember a player who knows or thinks he messed up will often think incorrectly he should be allowed to retake it. Yet if as you say it looks a tad weird but complies with the LOTG retouching it by the thrower is an INDFK for a 2nd touch to kick or play it and a DFK to use the hands. To prevent that I usually say to the effect of, "It's all good keep going! or No retake, it is fine!"

If is in your opinion the throw in WAS taken incorrectly, given both teams could indicate by their reactions they also lean that way, then set the bar as such! If you are doing a retake, because you are saying it WAS a slippery ball know that such cases apply to the other team should it occur later. FAIRNESS! CONSISTANCY!

As my colleagues and I often point out, consistency achieves a sense of understanding that you as a referee, your match, your decision, your reputation is based on the expectations you set & how you conduct & handle the idiosyncrasies that arise. Apply what you decided EQUALLY, fairly, with some degree of empathy and understanding but also a FIRM that is the way it is no nonsense demeanour! I agree youth can get a greater degree of sympathy than adults.


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