The throw-in is taken from the point where the ball crossed the touch-line, either on the ground or in the air, though typically a referee will tolerate small discrepancies between the position where the ball crossed the touch-line and the position of the throw-in. The throw-in is taken by the opponents of the player who last touched the ball before it crossed the touch-line. Opposing players may not approach closer than 2 m (2.2 yd) to the point on the touch-line from which the throw-in is to be taken.
At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower must face the field of play. The thrower must have part of each foot on the touch-line or on the ground outside the touch-line, and use both hands to deliver the ball from behind and over the head.
The ball becomes in play as soon as it enters the field of play.
A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-in; if a player throws the ball directly into their own goal without any other player touching it, the result is a corner kick to the opposing side. Likewise an offensive goal cannot be scored directly from a throw in; the result, in this case, is a goal kick for the defending team.
A player may not be penalised for an offside offence when receiving the ball directly from a throw-in. Skillful attackers can sometimes take advantage of this rule by getting behind the last defender(s) to receive the throw-in and having a clear path to goal.
The optimal release angle for attaining maximum distance is about 30 degrees above the horizontal, according to researchers at Brunel University. According to the study, players are able to throw the ball with greater release velocity for lower angles. The optimal angle would be 45 degrees if the release velocity did not depend on the angle of throw, if the ball were thrown from ground level instead of above the head, and if there was not air drag.
If an opposing player fails to respect the required distance (2 m) before the ball is in play or otherwise unfairly distracts or impedes the thrower, he or she may receive a caution (yellow card) for unsporting behaviour. If the throw-in has already been taken when the referee stops play for this offence, an indirect free kick is awarded.
If the thrower fails to deliver the ball per the required procedure, or delivers it from a point other than where the ball left the field of play, the throw-in is awarded to the opposing team. This is commonly known as a "foul throw".
It is an infringement for the thrower to touch the ball a second time before it has been touched by another player; this is punishable by an indirect free kick to the opposing team from where the offence occurred, unless the second touch was also a more serious handling offence, in which case it is punishable by a direct free kick or penalty kick.
If a player appears to take a throw-in but suddenly leaves it to a teammate to take, the player is cautioned for delaying the restart of play. Any player who excessively delays the restart of play is also cautioned.
A goalkeeper cannot handle a ball thrown directly to him or her by a teammate. This cannot be circumvented by the keeper using the feet first before handling the ball. If this infringement occurs within the goalkeeper's penalty area, an indirect free kick is awarded. If the infringement occurs outside the goalkeeper's penalty area, a direct free kick is awarded.
A detailed description of an early predecessor of the throw-in is recorded in the novel Tom Brown's School Days, published in 1857 but based on the author's experiences at Rugby School from 1834 to 1842:
You see this gravel walk running down all along this side of the playing-ground, and the line of elms opposite on the other? Well, they're the bounds. As soon as the ball gets past them, it's in touch, and out of play. And then whoever first touches it, has to knock it straight out amongst the players-up, who make two lines with a space between them, every fellow going on his own side ... He stands with the ball in his hand, while the two sides form in deep lines opposite one another: he must strike it straight out between them.
Several features of this passages are notable:
- possession is awarded to the first player to touch the ball after it goes out of play (this is the origin of the term "touch" for the area beyond the field of play)
- the ball must be played "straight out" (i.e. perpendicular to the touch-line)
- the player must "knock" or "strike" the ball back into play
A ball in touch is dead; consequently, the first player on his side must in any case touch it down, bring it to the edge of touch, and throw it straight out.
Other codes had a kick-in rather than a throw-in. These included the "Foot-Ball Club" of Edinburgh (1833), Harrow football (1858), Barnes FC (1862), Blackheath FC (1862), and the later version of the Cambridge rules from November 1863. Some of these laws permitted the ball to be kicked in any direction, while others required that it be perpendicular to the touch-line. At Harrow, the ball could be kicked in by "any of the bystanders", as well as any player.
The FA laws of 1863
At its second meeting, on 10 November 1863, the Football Association agreed that "when the ball is out of bounds it should be kicked or thrown in straight by the person who should first touch it down". The first draft of the laws of the game reflected this decision, but the option of a kick-in was removed before the final version of the laws was adopted on 8 December 1863.
This left the 1863 throw-in law very similar to those of Rugby School and Sheffield described earlier:
When the ball is in touch the first player who touches it shall throw it from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground, in a direction at right angles with the boundary line.
The throw-in from the 1863 rules features several differences from the throw-in in modern association football:
- possession is awarded to the first player to touch the ball after it goes out of play (in the modern game, it is awarded against the team last touching the ball before it goes out of play)
- the ball must be thrown perpendicular to the touch-line (in the modern game, the ball may be thrown in any direction)
- the manner in which the ball is thrown is not specified (in the modern game, the ball must be thrown with two hands from above the head)
Unity with Sheffield rules
In 1867, the laws of the Sheffield Football Association awarded the throw-in against the team kicking the ball out of play. In 1868, these Sheffield rules were revised further to award a kick-in instead of a throw-in. It continued to be awarded against the team who kicked the ball into touch, and could now be played in any direction.
In 1873, Nottingham Forest FC proposed a change in the FA's throw-in law to make it more similar to the Sheffield rule: the throw-in would be awarded against the team who kicked out of play, and it could optionally be replaced by a kick-in. Only part of the suggested change was approved by the FA's meeting: the throw-in would be awarded against the team who kicked the ball out of play, but it could not be replaced by a kick-in. It was still required to be thrown in perpendicular to the touch-line.
At the FA meetings of 1875 and 1876, the Sheffield clubs attempted to introduce their kick-in into the FA's laws. Both times the change was narrowly rejected after heated debate. Matters came to a head in 1877. At the regular meeting of the FA, in February, the Sheffield Association again proposed its kick-in rule, while Clydesdale FC proposed a compromise rule which retained the throw-in but allowed it to go in any direction. The Sheffield Association agreed to withdraw its own proposal in favour of Clydesdale FC's compromise. However, even this compromise proposal was rejected, "to the intense regret of those who desired one common code of rules". This rejection prompted the publication of a pseudonymous letter in The Sportsman decrying the "hasty, ill-judged decision ... bringing the Football Association into disrepute", and denying that it represented "the general body of [Football] Association players -- even of those in London". A subsequent extraordinary general meeting of the FA was held on the 17th of April, at which the Clydesdale amendment was reconsidered and passed. As a result of this change in the FA laws, the Sheffield Association held a meeting one week later at which it agreed to abandon its own rules and accept the FA laws.
As a result of these developments, the throw-in of 1877 looked quite similar to today's: it was awarded against the team who kicked the ball out of play, and it could be thrown in any direction. There was no restriction on the technique by which the ball could be thrown; players would throw the ball great distances using only one arm. It is reported that the England international Norman Bailey was capable of propelling the ball "from the centre of the ground into the goal mouth".
Unity with Scotland
The International Football Conference of December 1882 addressed discrepancies between the laws used by the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish football associations. One of the topics settled at this conference was the throw-in: the Scottish laws required the ball to be thrown in over the head with two hands, while the English laws, as described above, allowed the ball to be thrown with one hand in any direction. As a result of the conference, the Scottish version of the throw-in law was accepted. This new throw-in law, requiring the ball to be thrown from over the head with two hands, was formally adopted by the FA in 1883.
Scoring a goal from a throw-in
The laws of the game have never permitted a goal to be scored directly from a throw-in by the attacking team. In 1882, a change in the laws, introduced by Nicholas Lane Jackson of Finchley FC and Morton Betts of Old Harrovians FC, made it possible to score an own goal directly from a throw-in. This possibility was removed in 1898.
In 2002, Aston Villa goalkeeper Peter Enckelman scored an own goal from a team-mate's throw back to him when he miss-controlled the ball but appeared to touch it slightly with his foot before it crossed the line (Enckelman denied any touch but the referee awarded the goal); the incident received widespread media attention due to it occurring in an important Birmingham derby match in the Premier League).
Offside from a throw-in
Under the original laws of 1863, it was not possible to be offside from a throw-in; however, since the ball was required to be thrown in at right-angles to the touch-line, it would have been unusual for a player to gain significant advantage from being ahead of the ball. After the ball was permitted to be thrown in any direction in 1877, the very next year (1878) a new law was introduced to allow a player to be offside from a throw-in. This situation lasted until 1920, when the law was altered to prevent a player being offside from a throw-in.
Position of thrower's feet
In 1895, the thrower was required to "stand on the touch line". In 1896, it was clarified that the thrower could have "any part of both feet on the [touch] line". In 1925, this was changed to "both feet on the ground outside the touch-line", but in 1932 it reverted to "both feet on or outside the touch-line". In 1937, the requirement was once again changed to "part of each foot shall be either on or outside the touchline". In 1960, the wording was further refined to "part of each foot shall be either on the touch-line or on the ground outside the touch-line".
Manner of throwing
Position of opponents
Since 2005, opponents have been forbidden from approaching closer than 2 metres to the player taking the throw-in. This change was made because FIFA perceived "an increasing trend for an opponent to stand immediately in front of the thrower at a throw-in, with his feet virtually on the touch-line", with the result that "the thrower is being impeded from completing the throw-in". There was also a concern about the possibility of "a confrontational situation developing between both players."
Since 1866, the player taking the throw-in has been forbidden to touch the ball again until it has been touched by another player.
In 1871 a law-change introduced by Wanderers FC forbade players from playing the ball until it had travelled at least six yards. This requirement was dropped when the Scottish throw-in law was adopted in 1883.
Punishment for violations of the throw-in law
In 1882, an indirect free-kick was awarded for any violation of the throw-in law. In 1931, on a proposal by the Irish Football Association, this was changed to an award of the throw-in the opposing team (except for a violation of the double-touch rule, which remained punishable by an indirect free-kick).
In 1966, it was specified that opponents who "dance about or gesticulate in a way calculated to distract or impede the thrower" should be cautioned for ungentlemanly conduct. In 1997, this wording was updated to punish with a yellow card an opponent who "unfairly distracts or impedes the thrower" for "unsporting behaviour". In 2016, the same punishment was applied to an opponent who approaches closer than the minimum 2 metre distance; it was further specified than an indirect free-kick must be awarded if the ball has already been thrown in when the referee stops play to deal with the offence.
The name "throw-in" is first found in the laws of 1891.
|Date||Throw-in awarded to||Ball must be thrown in||Opponents may approach within 2 metres of thrower||Thrower may touch ball twice||Ball may be played before it||Goal may be scored from a throw-in||Player may be offside from a throw-in||Remedy for||Date|
|at right angles to the touch-line||with two hands from above the head||from behind the head||with thrower facing the field of play||touches the ground||has travelled 6 yards||Attacking goal||Own goal||foul throw||touching the ball twice|
|1863||First player to touch the ball after it goes out of play||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||None||None||1863|
|1873||Opposite team to that which last touched the ball before it went out of play||1873|
|1882||Yes||Indirect free-kick to opponents||Indirect free-kick to opponents||1882|
|1931||Throw-in to opponents||1931|
Rory Delap was highlighted for his throw-in technique: a former schoolboy javelin champion, Delap was renowned for having one of the longest and most powerful throw-ins in football, sending the ball into the six-yard box from distances up to 50 yd (46 m).
An uncommon but effective technique for delivering a faster than usual throw is the flip throw (notably employed in recent years by, among others, Estonian player Risto Kallaste, and Icelander Steinthor Freyr Thorsteinsson): in it the player, during the run-up, plants the ball on the ground, flips over it, and uses the momentum gained from the flip to increase the velocity of the ball. American flip thrower Michael Lewis set a new Guinness World Record when he recorded a throw-in of 59.817 m (65.417 yd) in Frisco, Texas in April 2019. British footballers Dave Challinor and Andy Legg are among the previous record holders. Iranian defender Milad Mohammadi made a failed attempt at a flip throw in the group-stage match against Spain at the 2018 FIFA World Cup; two years later, compatriot Nader Mohammadi scored using the technique in a domestic match (the goalkeeper touched the ball on its way in).
- "Laws of the Game 2019/2020" (PDF). IFAB. 1 June 2019: 126–128. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
Law 15, The Throw InCite journal requires
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- "Soccer Rules Q&A Search AskTheref.com". asktheref.com.
- "Laws of the Game 2019/20" (PDF). 2019. p. 110. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
- "An Old Boy" [Thomas Hughes] (1857). Tom Brown's School Days. Cambridge: Macmillan. pp. 109, 118.
- Wikisource. – via
The ball is out when it has passed the line of the flag posts on either side of the ground, in which case it shall be thrown in straight.– via
A Ball in touch is dead, consequently the side that touches it down must bring it to the edge of the touch, and throw it straight out at least six yards from touch.– via
When a Ball goes out of bounds (the same being indicated by a row of posts) it shall be brought back to the point where it crossed the boundary-line, and thrown in at right angles with that line– via
A free-kick if ball out of bounds– via
If the Ball is kicked beyond the prescribed limits of the Ground, it must be kicked straight in again; and then must not be touched by the Hands, or Arms below the Elbow– via
If the ball is kicked out of the ground (to be fixed before commencing the game) it is dead, and the first player who can pick it up shall bring it to the point where it left the ground, and be entitled to kick it as he thinks fit– via
A ball in touch is dead, and the first player who touches it down must kick it out straight from the place where it entered touch.– via
When the ball goes out of the ground by crossing the side lines, it is out of play, and shall be kicked straight into the ground again from the point where it is first stopped.– via
- Cartwright, John D. (21 November 1863). "The Harrow Game, The Charter-House Rules, and the Winchester Goals". The Field: 499.
When the Ball is dead, it must be thrown in, or a bully formed parallel to the place where it stopped: these are to take place alternately– via
When the ball is dead, a bully must be formed opposite to the spot where it stopped– via
- Wikisource. – via
When the ball is in touch the first player who touches it shall kick or throw it from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground, in a direction at right angles with the boundary line.– via
- Wikisource. – via
When the ball is in touch, a player of the opposite side to that which has kicked it out shall throw it from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground– via
When the ball is in touch, a player of the opposite side to that which kicked it out shall kick it in from where it went out; and no player be allowed within six yards of the ball, until kicked.– via
- Wikisource. – via
- Wikisource. – via
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- "The Football Association". Nottinghamshire Guardian (1649): 7. 2 March 1877.
- White Surrey (2 March 1877). "The Football Association Meeting [letter to the editor]". The Sportsman (2323): 4.
- "Meeting of the Sheffield Football Association". Sheffield and Rotherham Independent. lxi (5722): 7. 24 April 1877.
- Lancastrian (13 December 1882). "The Football Association Conference". Athletic News and Cyclist's Journal. vii (38.3): 5.
- "National Football Conference in Manchester". Glasgow Herald. 100 (292): 5. 7 December 1882.
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- e.g. Wikisource.
A goal shall be won when the ball passes between the goal posts or over the space between the goal posts (at whatever height), not being thrown, knocked on, or carried.– via
A goal shall be won when the ball has passed between the goal-posts under the tape or bar, not being thrown, knocked on nor carried by anyone of the attacking side– via
A goal shall not be scored from a throw in– via
- "Blues humiliate Villa". BBC Sport. 16 September 2002. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
- "Enckelman denies crucial touch". BBC Sport. 17 September 2002. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
- Aston Villa vs Birmingham City: Peter Enckelman discusses his infamous blunder, Birmingham Mail, 16 November 2018
When a player has kicked the ball any one of the same side who is nearer to the opponent's goal line is out of play– via
When a player kicks the ball, or it is thrown in from touch, any one of the same side who at such moment of kicking or throwing is nearer to the opponents' goal-line, is out of play– via
- "International Football Association Board: 1920 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- "Off Side Law Unaltered". Lincolnshire Echo (8827): 2. 14 June 1920.
The player throwing the ball must stand on the touch line facing the field of play– via
- Wikisource. – via
- "International Football Association Board: 1925 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "International Football Association Board: 1932 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 3. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "International Football Association Board: 1937 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "International Football Association Board: 1960 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 3 [p. 4 of the PDF]. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "International Football Association Board: 1965 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 5 [p. 10 of PDF]. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- "FIFA Circular: Amendments To The Laws of the Game -- 2005" (PDF). p. 6. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- "The History of the Laws of the Game - 2001-2006". Retrieved 20 September 2018.
[T]he player throwing it in shall not play it until it has been played by another player– via
When the ball is in touch, the first player who touches it shall throw it from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground, in a direction at right angles with the boundary line, and it shall not be in play until it has touched the ground– via
- There is some evidence that this requirement was also in the original 1863 laws. See Brown, Tony (2011). The Football Association 1863-1883: A Source Book. Nottingham: Soccerdata. p. 20. ISBN 9781905891528.
When the ball is in touch, the first player who touches it shall throw it from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground, in a direction at right angles with the boundary line, to a distance of at least six yards– via
In the event of any infringement of Rules 5, 6, 8, or 9, 12, or 14, a free kick shall be forfeited to the opposite side from the spot where the infringement took place.– via
- "Football". Carluke and Lanark Gazette: 3. 19 June 1931.
- "International Football Association Board: 1966 Minutes of the Annual General Meeting" (PDF). p. 14 [p. 12 of PDF]. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "Laws of the Game (1997)" (PDF). p. 33 [p. 138 of PDF]. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
- "Laws of the Game 2016/17" (PDF). p. 100. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
Two linesmen shall be appointed, whose duty (SUBJECT TO THE DECISION OF THE REFEREE) shall be to decide when the ball is out of play, and which side is entitled to the corner-flag kick, goal-kick, or throw in.– via
- before it is touched by another player
- Arsenal nemesis Rory Delap gives Stoke more than just long throwsThe Mirror. 3 November 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
- Sunday World. p.115. 2 November 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2008.
- "The Art of the Flip Throw". 1 September 2011.
- "Farthest distance football (soccer) throw-in (male)". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
- "Which footballer holds the world record for the longest throw-in?". The Guardian. 29 January 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
- Player scores with somersault throw in Persian League, BBC Sport, 8 December 2020
- The Story Behind The Flip Throw-In Big D Soccer. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
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