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Question Number: 32029

Law 15 - The Throw In 11/16/2017

RE: 3 Adult

Mason of Launceston, Tasmania Australia asks...

How far back from the touch line can a throw in be taken? No distance is listed in the book of laws. I have stopped them if they go further than 2 meters.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Actually the LOTG do state the throw in occurs from where it exited the FOP and the distance of two meters is implicit in the distance away an opponent must be FROM the touchline where the ball exited. Now law 18 common sense gives us a 1 meter of practicality so the opponent must actually give way the 2 meters as reasoned distance. I remind you the referee should point to the spot of where the throw in should be and be firm in this procedure otherwise it is hardly the fault of defender who is actually two meters from where the throw SHOULD occur but the referee allow the forward shuffle or attempt from a ridiculous spot to unfairly stretch out the throwers area of release into several yards away.
It is good to be tight on the unfair aspects but keep in mind how truly unimportant something is that makes no difference and is accepted by the players, A little discretion but set a bar. Firm RIGHT from there gentlemen! Line up and point, use AR to help if need be!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mason
Under a strict interpretation of the Laws throw ins should be taken at the touchline where the ball left the field of play.
It has become common practice to allow discretion in the distance in all directions including back from the line. That discretion is usually around two metres. Unfortunately it is abused by many in all directions and interestingly less interest is shown in going back towards a players own goal. Players erroneously think they can go back as far as they want which is not the case.
In respect of how far back I tend to not pay very much attention to this until it is excessive and unusual such as at a running track pitch where the throw is made from the track or where the throw is made from behind railings. Those should not be allowed.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mason,
As you mention, the laws do not specify a distance, probably to allow some leeway to the referee in terms of what to allow. It is interesting to note that in FIFA Q&A documents prior to 2004, there was the following:

''Is there a maximum distance away from the touch−line from which a throw-in may be taken?
No. A throw-in should be taken from the place where the ball left the field of play. However, a
distance of up to one metre from the exact position is a common practical guideline.''

In 2004 the answer was changed to: ''No. A throw-in should be taken from the place where the ball left the field of play.''

There's no way to know for sure but I suspect that the one metre distance may have been seen as too restrictive so by omitting it, the referee was not under so much pressure to reverse throw-ins every time they were more than one metre away from the correct location - which would probably be the majority of throws.

Nowadays, as my colleagues have stated, a distance of up to two metres is still usually allowed by most referees. Of course as we know and see every week, players regularly get away with much greater distances than this and although this is technically incorrect, I guess some referees see it as a relatively trivial issue that is not worth too much effort in enforcing.

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