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Question Number: 29739

Law 15 - Throw In 9/26/2015

RE: recreational Adult

Jay Leibowitz of Los Alamitos , CA USA asks...

several of us had a difference of opinion w/ re to whether a throw-in must be taken within one meter of the line... assuming that it is properly taken where the ball went out of play, can the thrower throw from as far back as they would like or must it be taken within one meter...I am sure there is a literal as well as a practical answer... thx

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jay,

A suggestion on throw ins is to consider the fair play aspect.

For example on a defensive throw deep in a player's defensive 3rd we often see a great latitude in both distance up or down and depth away from the touchlines as referees will feel the defensive 3rd is not as impacting as say an attacking throw in delivered in middle 3rd which might release an attack or with strictness to protocol in the attacking third where a goal scoring opportunity might occur. What we refer to as blade of grass restarts are generally in the attacking third more so than the middle or defensive 3rd of the field as the opportunity for a greater impact on play.

An attacking player who chases the ball out in behind the opponent's bench then tries to throw the ball in from in behind yards away from the touchline to release a quick attack is one that you can not permit . Yet a ball out deep in the defensive 3rd retrieved and throw in from several yards out or away from the touchline from where it exited that goes to an unmarked defender near his PA or goal line and no real challenged mounted by the opposition could be considered as a trifling violation of protocol and permitted!

The throw in has a few conditions attached to the procedures so as to not unfairly affect play. It does have a tactical application given players develop responses to how the LOTG are interpreted and applied. If a referee choose to relax those conditions the players will generally adapt to what is being permitted. For a referee to be pedantic or over strict on this restart he best be spot on with his foul recognition to help match control and prevent frustration. Yet a too lenient sloppy approach creates needless cautions or trouble as well. No one wants to prevent quick restarts or unnecessarily delay them. You are correct in thinking the practical application versus the reality is one a referee ponders as necessary or not

The exact wording of the LOTG suggests the throw in must occur from WHERE it exited the FOP. Yet given a ball is in the air or crosses the touch lines at angle or at distance the judgement will be an approximation in the opinion of the referee. Common sense or LAW 18, the bendability aspect of the LOTG, permit us a leeway of a yard or so in all three directions up down and out A referee should POINT to the spot of the restart and when the creeping up the touchlines becomes ridiculous, order the thrower back or award the throw in to the other team if blatantly ignoring your direction.

The LOTG permit an opponent to stand 2 meters away from the point of a throw in! This is a sufficient distance, that if a tall player was actually standing on the touch lines, as it is permitted in LAW 15 and released the ball at the furthest point in the field after travelling over his head and extended into the FOP that separation keeps accidental contact from occurring. It certainly does not stop the odd smash delivered into the face on say a flip throw or a purposefully directed attack but it was implemented so the thrower is not unfairly hindered in restarting. It is worthy noting that the ball is IN PLAY the moment any part of the ball comes in contact with the touchline in the air and often is STILL in the hands of the thrower but is not considered as deliberate handling

Although the throw in must be taken from where the ball exited there is SOME debate on whether the thrower can angle a throw in down the field so the ball actually enters the FOP many yards from where it exited. These throws generally occur when the thrower is outside and away from the touchlines in distance and angles the throw down field. These are also the type of throws that we hear, 'It never entered the FOP!' before it touches the ground with the same team wanting to retake.

While we do not encourage a spiking action or a shot put, the ball only has to travel over the head. The concept of the delivery being behind and over the head is one that newer referees seem to grab hold of as improper unless there is a full extension in the ball going in behind the neck with the arms eventually extended straight into the field upon release. THIS is a myth! One can throw the ball with a gentle wrist flick to drop it just on or inside the touchline as much a one can heave it as far into the field as they possibly can and still be within the guidelines of behind and over!

The same goes for foot fault myths. It is OK for the thrower to be partly standing in the field of play as long as some part of each foot is on or behind the touchline. Neither of these are causes to lose the restart.

The throw in is a simple method to restart play. Whether you do as I might in indicating where a throw in is supposed to occur from may reflect on how you manage your own matches. I am fairly verbal in communication and will address the teams with a firm ' Blue throw right there and point to the restart location with an authoritative motion to encourage proper location especially on the contested doubtful who last got a touch situations where I need to put a stop to squabbling. It is prudent though if an opponent does take a correct 2 meter position he not be placed in harms way by the thrower trying for more space than permitted.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jay
Law 15 tells us that at a throw in a player *delivers the ball from the point where it left the field of play*. Now it is impossible to determine the exact point so a yard or so of latitude is given. Indeed that can stretch to quite a few yards and in the Pro game the only time it is questioned is where there is a long throw expert present. Most other time it is not questioned.
So the advice is that the throw in should be taken within one yard of the TI location and that includes back from the touch line. Is it enforced uniformly? The answer is No and if there seems like no apparent benefit many times it is just ignored.
In a recent game with a running track bordering the field of play a player went to take a throw in from the running track some 6/7 yards away from the touchline in the attacking third. That was unexpected by the opponents so I did not allow it. Perhaps another referee might see it as trifling and allow play to continue. Interestingly it was not questioned as the player knew that he was expected to take the throw near the touchline.

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