Judging a Foul Throw?


RefChat Addict
Hi All,

I just wanted to get some opinions on this:

The one thing i've always struggled with is judging what constitutes a foul throw and what doesn't. Obviously i'm aware of what the law says, and of the basics (both feet on the ground etc) but i've never been 100% on how to judge it. Generally, I go with the mantra of 'if it looks wrong, it probably is' and that gets very few complaints from players/coaches.

What do the rest of you tend to do? :)


The avuncular one
Unless it is obvious (foot up, clearly not above head etc) just let them get on with it. They will still claim, moan etc every throw in!!! Even when they are all perfectly legal throw ins which just looked wrong because the thrower has no coordination.

My fave response to the constant barrage (every throw!) of claims for foul throws is "it was ugly, but it was above his head so get on with it."

Ryan Owens

Token Colonial
Level 3 Referee
I usually don't blow up for a foul throw unless it was painfully obvious that it was foul (as in, the very basics weren't right) and I say to the player "I've been ignoring them all day but I just can't let you get away with that." When the players piss and moan about throw ins, I tell them that we could stand there and trade throw ins all day, or we could play some football and they usually appreciate that I'm letting them do the latter since their favorite complaint of many other referees is that they 'don't let the game flow'.


Lighting the darkest hour
Staff member
I'm certain that a lot of this appealing for fould throws comes from the misconception that ball must be THROWN from behind the head.

Obvious indicators for a foul throw are simple.

- Feet.
- Ball not going behind the head.
- Ball being dropped when released (often at a younger age group)
- Ball being spiked into the ground.
- One hand on the ball.
Foul throws are my absolute bug bare (being a Left back by trade, who is more than competent at them). As a new ref the above comments are great, because im really conscious of getting caught up with it. thanks. what I would say is I hate watching MOTD because of this. it happens all the time...doesn't even see the back of the head....taken mid walk etc. winds me up just thinking about it! have a specific video saved on my phone of Yacob (WBA) taking a Foul throw in, receiving it back and crossing for Lukaku to score - WBA win 1 nil! GGrrrrrr


RefChat Addict
I think foul throws is more an area of personal tolerance as you have to decide how obvious it has to be for you to give it. (Like dissent) The other problem is CARs who decide to give a foul throw for no reason but you feel inclined to go with their decision to look 'proper'.


New Member
Level 5 Referee
I do not ask CARs to help me with foul throws or fouls as I cannot trust their knowledge or application of these laws. I do ask them for ball out of play and direction if in their credible area, ball out of play if down my end, especially if lines are not the best and offsides, explaining that I'm looking for the player to actually play the ball or really interfere/ challenge for the ball, before raising their flag.
I am not too bothered about foul throws, unless it is obvious they are gaining a real advantage in terms of distance thrown etc. So an attacking throw, near the box, and the fella lifts his foot whil launching it towrads the penalty area is going to get pulled, whereas a defender, near his own box playing it down the line mid-walk, will probably get away with it.
I played right back for 5 years and can launch a throw at least 30-50 yards and never gave one away for a foul throw. Every game I get the same response from players about foul throws and in with the majority here , if it looks blatant ill give it , if its fine I let them get on with it
How do you impart the spin to the ball to make it arrow then? I get great elevation, but lack pace and distance.
Hi Tea leaf

I've never really focussed on spin so unable to help with that, but if you cover a good surface area of the ball with your hands and put enough momentum in via your upper body and arms then you should get the distance. if your getting elevation but no distance i would say your release point is a bit too soon. being 6"3 i don't really have a problem with elevation/height, but if you aim to get it over a door frame that's 5 yard away then with enough power (and technique) should come height and distance. hope this helps and isn't too patronising.


Lighting the darkest hour
Staff member
Not patronising at all. Nobody ever taught me to take a throw in properly. Im considerably shorter in stature than you, (5'9" in socks) but wondered how to do it. I only play during training sessions and the like but it's always puzzled me. Great height and naff all else.