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Question Number: 31378

Law 15 - The Throw In 3/21/2017

RE: Usually Rec Games Under 13

Timothy Wrubel of Costa Mesa, CA United States asks...


The other day, a GU10 coach was complaining that the throws the girls were making were legal, in spite of the fact that they were ALL lifting their feet in various manners.

I waved him off, and as the game progressed, I continued to whistle the most egregious fouls, but I would allow the players to take the throw again, properly, and not change possession.

Teachable moments at this level, to me.

However, I spoke with the gentleman after the game, and he had very recently taken (only) the AYSO online course for his Regional badge.

He posited a short video clip (unfortunately I don't think I can copy paste it) where it shows a little girl making a very 'faulty' throw, while the narrator states that 'this throw is okay, even though even veteran referees might call it a foul'.

I said golly, I'm not certain about that, I'll look into it though.

I've asked a few others and they are still thinking about it too. It's like a philosophical or interpretation issue???

The only part of the law that seems relevant is this:


See where I am going with this? How do we define a moment? Is it over once the ball leaves the hands? 'When it enters the field of play'? Why have I basically never seen an experienced player lift a foot?

It seems to me as a practical matter this Law might be difficult to apply in such a way.

Thank you!

Tim Wrubel

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tim
Thanks for your question.
There are a number of AYSO video clips on throw-ins that points out how they are overcalled and how referees may imprroperly believe a foot was lifted during the throw when it was actually lifted after the ball was thrown.
Have a look at these throw ins
With freeze frame we can clearly see that the ball has in fact been released before the foot has been raised off the ground so they are all technically okay rather than just one. Release is the moment the ball leaves the hand. The difficulty is that they will look illegal and without the freeze framing of the release referee will be inclined to call them as illegal.
Perhaps a bigger challenge for the referee will be trying to quell the appeals for a FOUL throw in such situations even though the referee knows better. Therein is a quandary and while AYSO or others may want to limit the number of foul throws in a game either because they are marginally illegal or trifling the reality in a game situation it will be difficult for a referee not to call very obvious poor actions without the benefit of freeze frame or In the first example it is technically legal yet most referees may call that as an illegal throw or go with a retake at lower ages.
I was in a game recently with a very senior referee and he called every TI that had a run motion with no obvious foot drag. Now technically below I think 8mph a person will have at times both feet touching the ground at one time. The lower the speed the more time both feet are on the ground together. That could coincide with the release of the ball which technically makes any TI legal. Could anyone say that both feet were on the ground or not at the moment the ball was released from the hand at say 4mph? The assumption was made that running heightened the chance that it could not so these are called as foul throws. A video can be produced showing that action yet the reality is that most referees will penalise running to take a TI.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Tim,
the throw in is simply a way to restart play in a fast effective way as not to create issues as there is no foul or misconduct involved simply who last touched the ball bring it back WHERE it exited and give 2 meters clearance so as not to get a face full.

The LOTG state both feet on the ground to take the throw in.
A funny aspect of a throw in you can actually be deliberately handling the ball prior to release. Depending on how close you stand to the touchline and when actually the hands are no longer in contact with the ball . Yet no one calls for a deliberate handling violation? Yet foot fouls seem to be a matter of universal concern that the younger player has created a vortex of illegality that must be eradicated.

Feet on the ground hands over the head, is not a set of instructions that should cause a coach to go into conniptions that the referee has unfairly tactically instructed the opposing team so they cannot benefit from the possibility of such a incorrect throw they can regain ball possession for no apparent reason.

The toe drag on a running throw bouncing up a bit seems to irk the more by the book referees as does the flip/somersault throw in. Kids' have a tendency to rock forward on a throw in back foot often leaves the ground if they do not stand with feet together. IF FIFA had adopted feet together as the only method accepted it might lesson the jumping up ball foot kick ups. I tend to be more anal about the location of the throw than the way it looks. That said we each have a SERIOUSLY what was that ??? moment at just about any level. Even the pros!
You need to remember the strength at youth is simply not here hence the extra efforts to gain more distance to avoid being hemmed in same as on the goal kicks when the ring of fire moves in to take advantage that ball is not going very far. Coordination and developing good habits I applaud the redo at youth to set the mechanics of procedures as an ingrained muscle memory.
I like to see this video and ask why is it or who sponsors it as a correct interpretation? If it is the one highlighted by my colleague 3 great examples of a perfectly legit throw. For my opinion, once the ball leaves the hands, feet can do what they want. Unless they are jumping up with both feet or spiking a ball into the ground while looking like a ballerina as long as they are in the correct spot not 3 feet into the FOP and looking like the ball was correctly placed above and behind the head at the start I am pretty liberal with the mechanics and recognixe as the video posted shows, appearances are decieving lol .

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Tim,
The video that ref McHugh links to looks like it's probably the one the coach was referring to, as it contains almost the exact phrase you mention. And as the video shows, the young lady in the clip at the point that phrase is used, has executed a legal throw.

The matter of the 'moment' referred to in the law is not a philosophical or debatable issue - it refers to the moment the ball leaves the player's hands. Once again, the video clip correctly freezes the action at this exact moment and it can clearly be seen that the ball has already left the player's hands before her back foot comes off the ground. Once the ball has been released, it no longer matters what the feet do, it only matters where they were at the exact moment of releasing the ball.

Perhaps when viewing the clip with the coach you did not see (or he did not show you) the part with the freeze frame. I have to admit than when I first saw the throw at normal speed, it looked very suspect. This is the whole point of the video, however - just because a throw looks dubious, doesn't mean it's been incorrectly-taken.

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