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Question Number: 28626

Law 15 - Throw In 7/29/2014

RE: Rec Adult

James of St. Paul, MN United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 28625

On a follow up to Question 28625, I have a question to when the ball enters the field of play. Maybe I misinterpreted Richard's answer, but if I am correct Richard is saying that if, during a throw-in, any of the ball crosses the touchline then the ball is in play ('any of the ball gets wet.') I was under the impression that for the ball to be in play then the whole of the ball must cross the whole of the line. Otherwise it is outside the field of play, in the same way that a player's foot is considered out of the field of play during a throw if any part of the foot is on or outside the touchline.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi James
Always delighted to see answers raise further questions and challenging understandings.
Referee Dawson's answer is 100% correct. Once any part of the ball touches the plane of the line it is in play. The reasoning is that the ball is then on the line and it can be played. It is not out of play again until all of it crosses all of the line.
Now it does not mean either that if a player, standing on the touchline, stops his throwing motion by not releasing the ball that it is in play should the ball touch the plane of the line. The ball is not thrown in or in play until it is released and touches the plane of the line.
As a final point this is not going to challenge referees too many times. The vast majority of times the ball will come into play or if it is that tight to the line it is going to look like it is in play.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi James,

The boundary lines themselves form part of the field. So don't think of the ground as being 'outside the field - line - inside the field'. It's really just 'outside the field - inside the field'.

When the ball is on the field and heading it, it needs to wholly cross the line to have considered leaving the field. This isn't because 'crossing the line' is what's important - it's simply because while any part of the ball touches the line, it's still in play.

This goes the other way too - when a ball is re-entering the field of play from outside, the moment any part of the ball touches the line, it's in play - because the lines form part of the field.

That's why 'wholly crosses the line' only applies to balls leaving the field, not reentering.

The same principles applies for the penalty area line.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

On a correctly executed throw-in, the ball is in play when it is released, and any part of the ball is over the outer most edge of the touchline. The entire ball does not have to cross-the touchline.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi James
According to my wife, I am wrong on many occasions, just not on this one! lol
You are spot on my friend, you are not misinterpreting my response!

On a side note.
It is entirely possible for the thrower, while obeying ALL procedural conditions, to be completely inside the field of play, if his heels are only partially on the touchline, while performing the throw in.

As my colleague, ref McHugh points out, the ball is NOT YET in PLAY until the thrower actually releases the ball from his hands but it is why there must be a 2 meter separation from a defender given where the release point could in law actually be .

The THROW can be taken further back.The laws do say a throw in could occur within 2 meters from where it left the field of play. This is where a ball delivery parallel to the touchlines MIGHT not actually come into contact, remaining outside for the duration of the throw and a retake could occur!

In my opinion if a throw in is made correctly following the prescribed procedural and distance variables in law the ball is almost always going to be released into play!
The cries of,' It was never in ref!' are more like a plea, of 'Oops ref, I did a boo boo ,can I redo it?

Admittedly LAW 15, in my opinion, flies in the face of conventional restart philosophy, being the only one where if performed incorrectly is not retaken but awarded to the opposition! This is a recent innovation, perhaps the thinking is the throw-in is a simple, 'Lets get play moving again restart!'.
Failure to get the game moving by doing it wrong is so pitiful, we award custody of the ball to the other guys!

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