Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 30902

Law 15 - The Throw In 10/16/2016

RE: Rec Under 11

John O'Brien of Richmond, Surrey UNITED KINGDOM asks...

This question is a follow up to question 23313

The law about throw ins is badly worded and can be interpreted in two different ways regarding the position of feet. One interpretation is that no part of a players foot can cross the side line and be on the field of play. Another interpretation is that almost all of the players foot can be on the field of play as long as a tiny fraction of it touches the side line. Has this ambiguity been officially clarified anywhere? I have googled high and low but cannot find a definitive statement one way or the other.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
The wording of a Law 15 states that * have part of each foot on the touchline*. The interpretation of that is that as long as the player has part of his foot on the line that makes the foot position legal even if part of the foot in on the FOP. One can argue that it does not say that part of the foot cannot be on the field of play when part of each foot us on the touchline.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI John,
I sympathise as in even the FIFA PDFs do not show foot position yet in many other formats by those OTHER than FIFA or IFAB they incorrectly show foot position diagrams which are TOTALY CORRECT as INCORRECT or illegal which is simply NOT true! If we use the LOTG themselves to substantiate that a foot in CONTACT with the touchline is in fact ON The FOP then part of that foot further into the FOP still places them on the touchline. Given the throw in is a SIMPLE method to restart play and in EVERY test I have participated in taught that as long as PART of the foot was ON the touchline we are not overly concerned with the part that might be poking into the FOP because it simply DOES NOT matter when the aim is SIMPLY to get the ball in play!

The throw in is a simple method to restart play, it has an approximated spot to take the throw from and a very general leeway as to its performance. Usually because it simply gets the ball in play.

At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower must:

  have part of each foot on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline

These lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries

I can point out to you the placement of the ball on corner kicks or goal kicks whereby the ball is overhanging the arc or lines into the FOP or slightly outside the area they encompass.

Now with long throws into the PA and the flip throw one could make a case that the extra few inches might factor in but as in most dfk or indfk spots the area is rarely the blade of grass unless a PK or a scoring opportunity just outside the PA or an INDFK inside the PA. For now go with any part of the foot on the touchline makes the throw ok as it is the accepted version. There were diagrams in our training material that showed this but it would be advantageous if we could have a certified source from FIFA or IFAB because in the pdf they do show hands and over the head pictures just not foot positions.

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I'm not sure where the confusion arises. Maybe from people who have not read the Laws themselves, and rely on 'but he said ...'?

'Has part of each foot on or outside the touchline' seems pretty clear to me. It doesn't say anything about where the other part of each foot must be. What is not disallowed is permitted. So part of the foot can be inside the touchline as long as part of the foot is on the touchline.

Perhaps confusion arises because for any other purpose involving the touchline, the ball must be completely outside the line to be out of play. And people don't realize that doesn't apply to feet on line for a throw-in.

I was told that this is a hold-over from back in the 19th century. At one time, a throw-in was done from a stationary position, with both feet on the line. The wording, allowing part of each foot on the line, carries over from way back then.

Read other questions answered by Referee Gary Voshol

View Referee Gary Voshol profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 30902
Read other Q & A regarding Law 15 - The Throw In

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.