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Question Number: 32828

Law 15 - The Throw In 10/22/2018

RE: Adult

Garth Turner of Belfast, Northern Ireland asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32822

I question your interpretation, to me this is the correct interpretation.
As a referee, I have always been told that the lines on a field are part of the area of which they "contain". However, this seems to be in conflict with the law regarding throw-ins and the placement of the feet of the individual taking the throw-in along the touchline.

I recently had a game in which I had to explain the lines are part of the area of which they contain and he brought up the fact that on a throw-in as long as both feet are touching the touchline in some form that the throw-in is considered legal. However he then pointed out that by my description, would not that be illegal since in a throw-in the player must take the throw-in from outside of the field of play, however the line is considered in play?

The only reasoning I can come up with for this is that at its most basic form the throw-in is a method of restarting the match and thus follows a slightly different set of circumstances or rules than normal course of play.

But is there any further reasoning as to why a player is allowed to be completely in the field of play when taking a throw-in (in the case where they keep both heels on the inside edge of the touchline) and yet the throw-in is technically taken to put the ball back in to play?

answer (November 24, 2011):
The answer to your question lies in applying Laws 1 and 15 as they are written, not in finding reasons to doubt them. "He," whoever "he" may be, was totally wrong in suggesting that having ones feet on the line had anything to do with a dichotomy in the Laws. Your original understanding is correct. Your interlocutor is talking apples and applesauce, two different things, and creating his own muddled version of the Laws.

Law 1:
Field Markings
The field of play must be rectangular and marked with lines. These lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries.

Law 15:
At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower:
* faces the field of play
* has part of each foot either on the touch line or on the ground outside the touch line

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Garth,

I don't see the contradiction - as you state, Law 15 says the player's feet can be on the line. Law 15 doesn't state that the throw must be taken from outside the FOP. Sure, it means that the throw might still be handling the ball on the field before it's released, but as the ball isn't in play until after release, that's immaterial.

As to why players can have the front of their feet on the field, I couldn't hazard a guess as to FIFA's reasoning on that. I daresay FIFA found it simpler and easier to allow feet to be on the line rather than keep feet behind the line - and from there, how the law is written would seem to be the easiest way to describe things.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Garth,
I'm sorry but I don't see what you're questioning. This isn't a question of a personal interpretation or a matter of opinion - it's a simple matter of fact that as written, Law 15 makes it a legal foot position for a player to take a throw-in when any part of each foot is on or behind the line.

The fact that the lines are part of the areas they contain is true, but does not have an impact on the 'Procedure' section of Law 15. This law also does not say that 'in a throw-in the player must take the throw-in from outside of the field of play.' The player standing with only his heels on the line is indeed mostly (if not completely) inside the field of play but Law 15 makes it clear that this is OK.

As to the reason why this is so, I'm afraid that is lost in the mists of time. I can tell you that for a relatively short period from 1925 to 1932 the law (which was Law 5 at that time) said the player's feet had to be completely outside the line when taking a throw-in but the reason why it was changed to on or outside the line in 1932 (which is the way it has remained ever since) is not disclosed in the IFAB meeting minutes of that year. I suspect (though of course I have no hard evidence for this) that having this requirement in the law may have led to way too many improperly-taken throws and that enforcement of it was proving to be more trouble than it was worth.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Garth
The interpretation is based on Law 15 which states that the thrower **has part of each foot either ON the touch line or on the ground outside the touch line**. It is not an opinion as per the Law a throw in is legal if a player has his feet ON the line. Why that is we can only surmise that the IFAB decided a very long time ago that players feet were in contact with the lines so rather than making it illegal just accept it.
The statement in the Laws that **These lines belong to the areas of which they are boundaries** is used for other purposes such as deciding when the ball has left /entered the field, location of a foul etc
So at a throw in if the ball touches the plane of the touchline it is in play. Where the players feet are is not relevant to that as per Law 15.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Garth,
I am not sure what train of thought you are on here?The 5 inch touchline is not an extension of the throwers foot it simply is a place to stand!
You are correct the lines indeed are part of the area they contain which is why for example a keeper can be completely outside the PA but still handle the ball legally if the ball is in contact or breaks the plane with that PA line.

That answer you quote is likely from my old friend Jim Allen who is trying to tell you that there is no apple in the apple sauce.
LAW 1 tells us how the lines are to be considered.
Law 15 simply states how a throw in can be done , it has to occur from where the ball went out and one can stand there & do so while their feet are ON the exit point. There is no great advantage from a size 13 heel or toe length be it just in behind & out or completely into the FOP with just a tiny heel contact in.

The into touch area is defined by what is outside the boundary lines of touch & goal

The throw in is simple method of restarting play . The advantage of the feet allowed on the touchline is it is a guarantee the ball is in fact being in play on any throw in so none of this not entering the FOP nonsense and allowed to rethrow.

I teach newer referees to imagine a touchline or any boundary line as a 5 inch wall of water extending straight up, if the ball is even a tiny bit wet it is contact with that line It is not the feet, it is not the player it is the BALL being brought back INTO play!

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