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Question Number: 32971

Law 15 - The Throw In 1/12/2019

RE: Adult

David Moran of London middlesex, Middlesex United Kingdom asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32965

Many thanks for your well-thought out replies to my peeves. I know it's so difficult being a referee. If I was a ref I'd probably send off half the players, which is why I think I'll stay on the couch. I do take issue with the throw ins, however, if you look at the feet placement on the line I'll think you'll find that around a third are illegal. But no matter. 'Lies, damn lies and statistics' and all that. Thanks again to all for taking the time.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi David
Happy to provide an insight and to share thoughts of grassroots refereeing.
Many in the game believe that the throwers foot at a throw in cannot be over the line. The wording can be ambiguous when not explained through tacit knowledge. As long as any part of the foot is touching any part of the touchline that is acceptable. In fact a thrower can have most of his feet over the touchline with only his heels touching the line and that is legal.
Again the early law makers in their wisdom knew that it was only a simple method of getting the ball back into play and that there was no need to penalise a thrower who had part of his foot slightly over the line. At one time the ball could only be thrown in perpendicular to the touchline like rugby so foot placement was not a key factor to be considered.
Also I believe that the reason there is a throwing action rather than a drop is to try to keep players a distance away from the thrower much like clearing out the penalty area at a goal kick or free kick.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi David,
Thanks for your comments and your interest in the Laws of the Game. It seems that you may have a misconception as regards foot placement at a throw in. According to the requirements of the law it is legal to have *any part* of each foot on or behind the line. This means that a player could have one or both feet almost entirely on the field of play and the throw would still be legal so long as even the slightest part of each foot is still touching the line (assuming the other requirements are met). However you are far from being alone in this misconception.

In the recent European Nations League game between England and Croatia many people including TV pundits thought the throw-in by Joe Gomez leading to England's second goal was illegal because nearly all of his front foot was over the line. In fact the throw was perfectly legal, as the following article explains:

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi David, there are some truisms in thinking players should respect the LOTG with greater attention to detail. Toes inside the FOP are fine as long as some part of the heel is catching some part of that 5 inch touchline! Imagine the touchline as a five inch wide puddle of of water extending along the ground, if ANY part of the bottom of the foot remains wet then the throw in is fine no matter if partially inside the FOP .

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