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Question Number: 31487

Law 15 - The Throw In 4/26/2017

RE: Various Adult

Mike of Livonia, Michigan U.S.A. asks...

If the lines on the field are considered part of the area which they enclose, then why during a throw-in must the player's two feet only be partially on the line when the rest of the feet can be across it and on the field? If even their full foot was on the line, wouldn't they be on the field?

Following similar logic... when is the ball technically 'in play' during the throw in? Is it a) when the ball starts to cross the line on the way back in, b) when the ball is a combination of above and across the line, or c) when the ball completely crosses the line. Is the logic the same?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Mike,
it is a headache to try explain the thinking that occurred when they decided to allow the throw in to be taken essentially while standing in the FOP deliberately holding the ball, a foul of a DFK.

This restart was designed merely as a way to get the ball back into play.
They DID specify the throw in should be taken from the point where it exited
THAT is of much greater concern than a foot fault in my opinion.
They designated a yard or so in either direction as reasonable yet we see 10 to 15 yds or more run up the lines or throws from well back hoping to catch unwary opposition or desperate to gain an advantage or not waste time

The foot position is right over the point it left the FOP so hard to challenge that throw is not occurring from where it exited! Rather than state the feet must remain outside the boundary lines they permitted the player to stand ON the spot it left the FOP. The distance issue is rather trifling and could be doubtful.

So yes it is a bit funky to say as long as your heel is in contact with the line your toes can be inside the FOP because technically the touchline boundary lines also designates all the area OUTSIDE as well as the AREA inside the FOP.

The BALL however is IN play the moment it makes contact with the boundary line & that includes if it is being held in the hands of the thrower just prior to the release which in live play would be a DFK lol . Here we do not activate live play until the ball is released. If it was done correctly we permit play to continue and if the wind were to blow it back outside we award the throw into the opposition as it was last touched by the other team while being put into play, albeit by his hands

If the throw in was done correctly but far enough back from the line where the ball was never in contact with that imaginary 5 inch wall of water thus could not get wet then if the wind stopped it from entering or it hit the ground before entering the FOP one could retake the throw. I personally dislike that idea, I prefer the USA high school rule of if it was not put into play award it the other guys. That only works for FIFA if the throw in was done incorrectly. Throw in taken from the wrong place, hands not over the head etc..

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
The Laws have had many iterations over more than a century. On field experiences meant that many Laws were amended to make the implementation of the law easier. Case in point is recent change for a free kick to be awarded for a foul off the field of play.
In the throw in instance the Law allows for the player to have part of his foot on the field of play on the basis that his feet are on or behind the line. So a heel on the line line makes it legal.
In respect of the ball entering the field of play once the ball cross the plane of the outer edge of the line the ball is in play.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mike,
The Laws of the Game have been in almost constant evolution ever since the first version of them was published in Bell's Life in London, a popular sporting paper, on December 5, 1863.

In more recent years, it has been common to publish, along with any amendments, a reason why the changes were made. However in the early years of the Laws, this was not usually the case. So for instance when the wording was introduced in 1932 to say that the player taking a throw-in should ''stand with both feet on or outside the touch-line'' there was no reason given for the change from the previous wording which said the player's feet must be ''outside the touch-line.''

We can only speculate as to why this change was made but as Ref McHugh suggests, it was probably to make the law easier to implement. I suspect (and this is pure conjecture on my part) that many players, in an effort to get as close to the line as possible, were ending up with the toes or front part of one or both feet slightly overhanging the line and since any advantage they might gain from this was both dubious and trifling, it may have been felt that penalising players for such a minor matter was not worth the referee's time.

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