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Question Number: 30241

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 4/4/2016

RE: Competitive Adult

Ryan of Mascot, NSW Australia asks...

A defender takes a throw in, he throws it aggressively at a nearby attacker, it strikes him on the head. Is it a red card?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Ryan,
bad idea this is most likely to be considered as a striking foul and the thrower is shown the red card & sent off for VC reducing his team by a player if the referee saw it as a deliberate action.

Watch this flip throw catch a too close player within the 2 yards in the face, the throw in was retaken. I am not sure how or why the defender did not have a busted nose! lol

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ryan
It all depends if the actions were violent conduct aimed ay striking a player with an object which can include the ball. There can be times when it is accidental and the referee has to take into account circumstances and intention.
If say a player is having words with an opponent and at the next throw in the player deliberately throws the ball into the players face for the only purpose of striking the player then that is a sending off. The advice in the Laws states *If while the ball is in play, a player, substitute or substituted player throws an object (including the ball) at an opponent or other person using excessive force, the referee must stop play and send off the player, substitute or substituted player for violent conduct.*
If on the other hand an opponent jumps up say three metres away at a throw in and the ball hits him in the face then that is not VC. In fact the player that is struck can be guilty of distracting or impeding the thrower for which he could be cautioned for unsporting behaviour

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Did you just happen to have a really exciting match on the weekend Ryan?
The fact that a throw-in is a method of restarting play doesn't allow the player to abuse it and use the ball to unnecessarily strike an opponent. It's a bit like when a keeper has the ball in his hands but turns around and throws it right into an opponent's face - sure, he's allowed to hold the ball and throw it, but we all know there was more to it, and that doesn't allow him to do what he did.

This can be a red card, depending on the force involved. It could be a yellow (though anything involving the head is usually a red card, if anything). If the throw is otherwise taken correctly, then the restart should be a direct free kick from where the attacker was. If taken incorrectly, the restart is a throw-in to the other team.

Sometimes it's tricky determining whether it was an aggressive action or just an innocent throw gone wrong.

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Answer provided by Referee James Sowa


This is a really tough situation. It is very difficult to prove intent, especially on a restart like a throw-in. As Referee McHugh points out, there are several contextual clues we can use to paint a broader picture. If the referee truly believes that the player taking the throw-in deliberately threw it at an opponent, then the referee must take action with either a yellow or red card. As Referee Wright points out, this is where we need to analyze the force and the opportunity to react (was the player a couple yards away or several yards away). Keep in mind also the reaction of the thrower and the defender. Do they interpret this as foul play or are they conciliatory?

The best thing a referee can do in this situation is prevention. If you know the players are heated, make your presence known. Just that little effort can cause the players to think twice about doing something a bit stupid.

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