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Question Number: 32846

Law 15 - The Throw In 10/27/2018

Petr of Prague, Prague Czech Republic asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32837

one additional question please.

LOTG say this: 'If the ball touches the ground before entering, the throw-in is retaken by the same team from the same position. If the throw-in is not taken correctly it is retaken by the
opposing team.'

My situation is: Player throws the ball in incorrectly (f.e. one foot is inside the ground). The ball slips out of his hand. This ball never enters the field. Retake or not?

The rules are unlear for me :-) Thank you!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Conflicting positions on this one.
Some are of the view that as the ball has not entered the field of play the throw in is retaken in all instances.
However others of the view that as the TI is incorrectly taken it is a turnover in all instances.
Now I believe that in a match situation the referee will be focused on the incorrectly taken throw in part and as a result the call will be made fairly quickly after release without waiting for the outcome of the throw in.
For me a foot over the line suggests the plane of the line has been broken by the ball at release. If it looks like an incorrectly taken TI i.e. raised foot, ball not behind the head I am calling it as that without waiting for the ball to land.
On a slip where the ball falls outside the FOP I would go with a retake.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Petr,
the deal here is in theory if a ball NEVER enters the FOP then the restart NEVER occurs thus a retake! Remote possibility of a caution for delaying the restart if it is being done to waste time . IF the ball was obviously not thrown in as we mentioned a slip would be common sense to how to proceed, we likely get them to go again. But if they are standing inside the FOP chances are that ball was breaking the plane of that 5 inch boundary line at some point in the release plus I agree if the throw in IS being performed incorrectly we are less likely to allow a rethrow given our focus is on the mechanics, for me it must be COMPLETELY obvious the ball never entered the FOP to not award an incorrect throw to the opposition & go with rethrow.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol


This was a surprise that showed up several years ago in the Laws or in the old Q&A.

This, and the provision that if a PK goes backwards it's not retaken, were changes that went against a long-standing principle: That if the ball is out of play, there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that could change the restart.

(Granted, the actions that made it a bad throw probably occurred just before the ball actually went into play, but let's not quibble about tiny distances.)

The words you quote are from the current Laws, and should be observed. Even if it seems 'wrong'.

Your example of a incorrect throw (one foot on the field) probably isn't a particularly good one for this question. If a player's foot was completely on the field, the ball most likely was inside the line at one time or another. In any event, it's obviously a bad throw, it goes to the other team, regardless where it lands. If it's obviously a good throw that didn't enter the field, it's a retake. If you have to err on one side or the other, err to the side that seems more obvious.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Petr,
I also found this section of the law a little unclear (and contrary to what I had thought the law meant prior to a change in wording in 2016) so I sent an enquiry to the IFAB's Law Enquiries email address. The official response to my query was:

''Dear Mr. Grove

Thank you for your e mail.

If the ball does not enter the field of play from any restart the original restart decision can not be changed so the throw in would only be awarded to the opposing team if the ball entered the field of play from the throw in.

Best wishes

David Elleray
Technical Director
The International Football Association Board - IFAB''

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