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Throw-in wording

Discussion in 'Laws of the game' started by SLI39, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. SLI39

    SLI39 Active Member Level 7 Referee

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    This has almost certainly been covered many times, but I'll mention it anyway. As I referee a lot of youth football, where foul throws can crop up quite often, I was revising the law and realised that the clause on where to place one's feet is ambiguous (LOTG 99.1.2).
    Does having part of each foot on the touchline or outside the touchline mean that it is not permissible to place any portion of a foot on the field of play, or would it be fine as long as part of your foot was on the touchline?
    Thanks; sorry for my ignorance, but I have never really worked with experienced referees as an NAR where such things may arise, so I have to obtain a lot of my knowledge from here or from my own interpretation.
     
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  4. TopCat

    TopCat Active Member Level 7 Referee

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    Foot only needs to be touching line so can be on field of play yes
     
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  5. SLI39

    SLI39 Active Member Level 7 Referee

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    Thanks, it would look a bit weird, but just because 90% of players don't perform it like that doesn't make it illegal!
     
  6. CapnBloodbeard

    CapnBloodbeard Well-Known Member

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    Yep, That's what 'on or behind the line' means. That's why the laws don't state 'can't be on the field of play'.

    Seen a few funny ones though where the player has thrown it down the line, right down the line - front foot just on the field of play, back foot drags across and is actually wholly on the field by the time the ball is released!

    Technically it also means that if a player has most of their foot on the field and lifts their heels then it's a foul throw - but there's the whole trifling thing, of course. Although if only a sliver of heel was on the line to start with then you might be justified in calling it.

    Typically the AR watches feet and ref watches the delivery.
     
  7. Peter Grove

    Peter Grove Well-Known Member

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    I'm struggling to see it as ambiguous. It says the player must "have part of each foot on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline." Nothing ambiguous there, that I can see - it means exactly what it says. Perhaps it would make it clearer if they put the word 'either' before the first 'on'? But it isn't actually needed, it means the same with or without it.
    No, because it is perfectly possible to have a portion of your foot on the field of play while part of it is still on the touchline, as the law requires.
    Yes it would, because that's exactly what the law says - "part of each foot on the touchline ...."
     
  8. Jacob Walukiewicz

    Jacob Walukiewicz Active Member Level 7 Referee

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    I've only had it once where have had to give a foul throw for foot on the pitch (as an assistant) and his foot was definitely not touching the line, comically so. However I have had one or two CAR's flag for foot on the pitch foul throws only for me to wave them away for the this very reason, It is rare that the whole foot will be over the line and if so I'm not trusting a CAR to make that judgement without me seeing clearly.
     
  9. santa sangria

    santa sangria Well-Known Member

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    Saw a great one of these from a local top flight AR earlier this season.
    He flagged a foul throw for a player going to tip toes with the toes on the field, heels above the line. I was paying attention. Great call. But had to have b***s of steel to do that in front of the grandstand with about four thousand people in.
     
  10. SLI39

    SLI39 Active Member Level 7 Referee

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    The only reason I said it was ambiguous was because, depending on the way it is read, that clause might suggest a player can only place his/her feet on the touchline or outside the field. That is one way of interpreting the text. It is not self-evident to think that any part of the feet can touch the field of play. It is an inference (albeit a correct one, as others have assured me). Or do you apply a general logic whereby anything not explicitly proscribed must perforce be deemed legal?
     
  11. santa sangria

    santa sangria Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I think you are contradicting yourself and misquoting here. The LotG say "part of". It's quite clear and unambiguous to me.
     
  12. SLI39

    SLI39 Active Member Level 7 Referee

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    I don't think it's the 'part' word that makes it 100% clear. I had first imagined half a foot on the touchline, half outside the line, with the field being out of bounds.
     
  13. Peter Grove

    Peter Grove Well-Known Member

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    No, it doesn't suggest that at all. It says part of each foot must be either on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline. The word 'or' between the two parts of the sentence means that if either condition is met, the Law is complied with. Accordingly, if we take just the first condition and any part of the foot is on the touchline, the requirements of the law are clearly and unambiguously met. So once the requirements of the law are met with part of the foot being on the line, the rest of the foot can be elsewhere - including on the field of play. There is no way to read it as meaning anything different, so there is no ambiguity.

    If you think it can be read differently, please explain how it is possible to interpret "part of each foot on the touchline" as meaning that none of the foot can be on the field of play.
     
  14. Russell Jones

    Russell Jones Well-Known Member Level 4 Referee

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    Hey Peter, I agree with you, the wording is actually unambiguous when you consider it thoughtfully. However, from my experience, this is nonetheless one of the least widely understood pieces of Law ... if it was properly understood then we'd see far more throws being taken with feet largely on the FOP, especially those throws where maximum distance is being sought.

    I think the issue is that the Law somehow seems counter intuitive. You'd expect that players would have to be "off the pitch", not "on the pitch" when taking a throw in. And with lines forming part of the pitch, this isn't the case .. in fact, even if 95% of your feet are behind the line (and the remainder on it), you're still therefore on the pitch when taking the throw! So, even though it's unambiguous, it clearly still causes confusion for players, spectators and some referees! And for a restart that happens many many times each game, this seems unacceptable and so an obvious opportunity to restate the law to be even clearer for all concerned
     
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  15. SLI39

    SLI39 Active Member Level 7 Referee

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    First of all, I agree that the word 'or' does give credence to your interpretation, the legitimacy of which I am not challenging; this is just a way to think about how the semantics/understanding could be improved. However, the fact that the law mentions an area outside the field of play and the boundary line suggested to me that the field itself might not be included in the correct procedure. I suppose it really depends on whether you deem it permissive or restrictive where the absence of information is concerned. In my opinion, if you wanted to emphasise the accepted view, something along the lines of 'a throw is legal as long as part of the foot is touching the boundary line at the point of delivery' offers clarity and no distractions.

    Regarding Russell's point, this is where I was heading. As I said in an earlier post, 90% of players do not touch the field of play while completing a throw-in and would probably demand a foul throw if anyone else did; that hints at collective ignorance, but if we are serious about reducing confusion and fostering healthier interactions with players on the field, I would rather be honest about the ways the laws help us and hinder us in that respect; it is an ongoing conversation. I recently had a productive talk with an interested parent about a couple of hypothetical offside scenarios (deliberate plays; new phase of play etc.). I now realise that the 16/17 amendments have provided a better tool for handling most layman's queries than the LOTG did even a few years ago. Yet although it's the referees' bible, it is humble to recognise that the perfection of this document will never be attained.

    Remember, however much we like discussing the nuances of the laws, they were not produced as creative literature. 'When you consider it thoughtfully' is probably not sufficiently clear for what amounts to an extended public service announcement. In general I am very much against the excessively simplified presentation of information in the public domain (news etc.), but the LOTG should be accessible to players, coaches, fans and referees alike.
     
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  16. Peter Grove

    Peter Grove Well-Known Member

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    It might offer clarity but it is not correct - it only covers the first part of the wording for foot positioning and the wording in the law - "part of each foot on the touchline" means the same as "part of the foot is touching the boundary line" but uses fewer and simpler words (also "each foot" is clearer and more accurate than "the foot").

    However more importantly, it does not cover the second part of the wording "or on the ground outside the touchline" which means that a throw-in can still be legal even if none of either foot is touching the line but is outside the line.

    The fact is that the current wording states in simple and concise language exactly what is required in terms of foot position to make a throw legal. If either or both of the simple requirements it lays down are met, the throw is fine. If they are not met, the throw is not legal. I have to say I am at a bit of a loss as to understand the difficulty in seeing this. As it stands, the law is already clear and does not really need changing to make it any clearer, as far as I can see.

    Perhaps it would help to take a step back and look at it again, thinking through the exact meaning and implications of each word individually and in combination. How about this - try looking at the two conditions as separate entities and imagine all the possible foot positions that would meet each condition separately (specifically, consider that the "part of each foot on the touchline" condition can still clearly met even if part of the foot is on the field of play) then consider the fact that if each foot is meeting one or other condition, the throw is OK. I think once you do that, you might hopefully see that the law is a model of brevity and clarity. It states exactly what it needs to say with no superfluous wording and covers all the possible permutations of correct foot positioning.

    The only thing that would potentially make it even clearer (for me) would be if it actually stated that if part of either foot is on the field of play, the throw is still legal so long as part of each foot is on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline as well. But it actually doesn't need to say that - as mentioned earlier, that meaning is inherent in the words already used.

    Incidentally, this will be my last contribution on this topic, I doubt if I can really say anything else useful about it and I think the discussion has already gone on long enough (probably too long, in truth).
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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  17. bloovee

    bloovee Well-Known Member Level 7 Referee

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    Wow, all this without anyone pointing out that the wording is a bit strange if you can take a throw with both feet within the FoP, but (a) you must face the FoP (when you can already be on the FoP) and (b) the ball is in play when it enters the FoP (so in this case as soon as it leaves your hands).
     
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  18. one

    one Well-Known Member Level 7 Referee

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    I always wondered why you are allowed to stand in the filed of play, whole oe part, for a TI. Never found a satisfactory reason. Would have been much simpler if the law said "has both feet on the ground outside of the field of play"
     
  19. Ganajin

    Ganajin Well-Known Member Level 3 Referee

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    Why do you also take a corner from ON the field of play? Or a free kick? A Goal Kick? Kick off? Or a dropped ball? Because every single other restart, without exception takes place ON the field of play. It would actually be a far better question to ask why you can also take a throw in from wholly OFF the field of play...
     
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  20. Russell Jones

    Russell Jones Well-Known Member Level 4 Referee

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    Great point! And one I will use when explaining the throw in Law to anyone interested.

    I suppose it is technically possible to take GKs, Corners and some FKs with the player and ball 99% off the FOP but highly unusual nonetheless :)
     
  21. Peter Grove

    Peter Grove Well-Known Member

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    Well, the law used to say that - but only from 1925 to 1932. Before that, it said the player must have "any part of both feet on the line." So not too much different from what it is today (except the feet couldn't be totally outside the line). There's no reason given in the IFAB minutes for 1932 as to why they changed it back to allowing the feet to be partly on the line (and so partly on the field or outside the line) but it would seem apparent that the change in 1925 had not worked out too well and my suspicion is (because it's what I think would happen if they tried to change it again now) that there were so many foul throws that it became too much of a hassle to keep turning them over all the time, especially for something as trivial as a throw-in which is just (or should be) a quick and easy method of getting the ball back into play - and one where according to one statistic I've seen, possession ends up with the opponent about 50% of the time anyway.
     
  22. Sheffields Finest

    Sheffields Finest Happily minding that Gap

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    back in 1858...Sheffield Rules.....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 from touch..... :confused:
     

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