Website Manager

Law XV - Helpful Information


Although the throw-in is to be taken "from the point where [the ball] crossed the touchline," this requirement is satisfied if the restarts occurs within approximately one yard (one meter) of this location, farther up field or down field or back from the touchline. A throw-in taken beyond this limit is an infringement of Law XV.

The ball is considered to have entered the field and is therefore in play if it touches, while still in the air, the outer edge of the vertical plane of the touchline.


A throw-in must be performed while the thrower is facing the field, but the ball may be thrown into the field in any direction. Law XV states that the thrower "delivers the ball from behind and over his head." This phrase does not mean that the ball must leave the hands from an overhead position. A natural throwing movement starting from behind the head will usually result in the ball leaving the hands when they are in front of the vertical plane of the body. The downward (often refereed to as a "spike") is therefore not correctly performed and may result in the restart being awarded to the opposing team. There is no requirement in Law XV prohibiting spin or rotational movement. Referees must judge the correctness of the throw-in solely on the basis of Law XV.

The acrobatic or "flip" throw-in is not by itself and infringement so long as it is performed in a manner which meets the requirements of Law XV

A player who lacks the normal use of one or both hands may nevertheless perform a legal throw-in provided the ball is delivered over the head and provided all other requirements of Law XV are observed.


Here are some illustrations of
foot positioning that is allowed
or not allowed. Positions
E and F are illegal throw-ins.


Referees must distinguish between a throw-in which infringes on the requirements of Law XV and one which is performed improperly such that the restart is said not to have been taken. In the first case (infringement), possession of the restart is given to the opponents and taken from the same location; under no circumstances may advantage be applied to a throw-in performed illegally. In the case of a throw-in which is not properly completed, the restart must be taken again by the same team from the same location.

A throw-in may not be performed from a kneeling position under any circumstances.

If the ball touches the ground outside the field before entering the field or does not enter the field at all, the throw-in has not properly been taken and must be preformed again.


Referees are reminded that the primary function of the throw-in is to put the ball back into play as quickly as possible. At competitive levels of play, therefore, apparent technical infringements of Law XV should often be deemed trifling or doubtful so long as advantage is not obtained by the team performing the throw-in and the restart occurs with little or no delay.

Neither team may score a goal directly from a throw-in. If the ball is thrown directly into a team's own goal (with no intervening touch or play), the correct restart is a corner kick. If the ball is thrown directly into the opposing team's goal, play is restarted with a goal kick.

Opponents are prohibited from unfairly distracting the thrower (violations are punished by a mandatory caution for unsporting behavior). This means that an opponent may not jump about or wave his arms in a distracting manner, move to block the freedom of movement of the thrower, stand directly in front of the thrower so as to harass him, or move to block a throw in a particular direction


Opponents are required to provide a two (2) yard distance for the taking of a throw-in. This two yard distance is afforded in all directions. Any opponent that infringes upon this requirement must be punished by a mandatory caution for unsporting behavior. The referee must take in mind the level of play when assessing this requirement. For young players (e.g., Passers and Wings), a two yard distance is equivalent to ten yards to older players (e.g., Strikers and Kickers).

A throw-in taken in such a way that the ball strikes an opponent is not by itself a violation of the Law. The act must be evaluated separately as a form of striking and dealt with appropriately if judged to be unsporting behavior (caution) or violent conduct (send off from the field). In either event, if deemed a violation, the restart is located at the place on the touchline where the throw-in was taken.


Contact Us

Soccer Association for Youth USA

11490 Springfield Pike 
Cincinnati, Ohio 45246

Copyright © 2019 SAY National  |  Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Login