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Question Number: 29067

Law 15 - Throw In 12/22/2014

RE: Advanced Comp, Rec Other

Geoff Keller of Vancouver, WA United States asks...

I have a question om foot placement of thrower during a throw in. It says both feet must be on the ground. That part is clear. The question comes in how much contact of the line with the 'front' foot is allowed. If the foot is 'on the line', is any portion of the foot allowed to be in contact with the field of play. For example: The line is 5' wide. Most players feet are longer then this. Can the player step so that the entire line is covered with the foot, or so only the heel is touching the line. Is that considered a legal throw.

Thank you

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Geoff
As long as a player has part of his feet on or behind the line that is legal. So a player could have his heel on the line with most of his foot on the field of play and that is legal. It is only illegal when the player has all of his foot over the line.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Geoff,

The law doesn't say the player can't be on the field - just that both feet must be on or behind the line. Therefore, having part of the foot on the field isn't a problem.

The player can have most of their foot on the field - as long as part of the heel is still on the line, it's fine.

Some referees will point out that if the player then lifts that heel, he's no longer on the line therefore it's an incorrectly taken throw in. While technically correct, I don't think I've ever felt the need to be that strict on that particular aspect. I suppose the need could arise though.

Having said that, one thing to look out for is the back leg when a player is throwing it down the line- the player will often be side-on to the field, and sometimes that back foot will slide across and onto the field.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Geoff,
the throw in is supposed to be a simple method of restarting play.
There is a reason WHY there is a two meter separation provided in law for the opposition to be standing! It is to allow enough room for the ball not to be transferred into the face of a defending opponent!

It is entirely conceivable the thrower can have both feet inside the FOP with the heels on the touchline and while delivering the ball up and over the head is actually holding onto the ball while it is inside the FOP before the release stage occurs.

The interesting portion of throw in law is the ball is not playable until it is released but may in fact be considered in play having crossed into the touchline barrier while still being held.

By far the biggest practicality is taking the throw in from where it left the FOP, While doubtful and trifling offences of position may be overlooked sometimes you must be strict with this issue as it affects fair play in critical situations. A referee should point to the spot of where the throw in could take place both to clarify the location, and as a preventive measure so an incorrect throw does not occur.

Two other points of throw in procedure are often misconstrued or left to be pondered by each official as to time taken to get the ball into play (delaying restart) and ONCE a ball is released, the foot lift, leg drag, body turn means nothing if the ball is already gone.

On a properly taken throw in it is almost impossible for the ball not come into contact with the touchline if even so much as a millimeter, so a rethrow is very very rare! I know in USA high school it does not matter, there are no redo's, as the opposition will take any incorrect throw for their own no matter the ball entering the FOP or not.

Whether you as an official are lenient or not with protocol as to trifling or doubtful then at least be consistent in your approach. Teams have a right to expect fair and impartial treatment not gotcha refereeing for insubstantial toe drags or heel lifts,

Cheers And a Very Merry Christmas

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