What are the football Throw-in Rules
| | |

What Are Football Throw-In Rules? – Complete Guide

What are football throw-in rules? While the basic understanding of the game is simple, some rules require elaboration. There is, of course, the notorious offside rule. But even beyond that, things like set pieces and some of the minute details regarding football throw-ins can be confusing too.

You are watching a game, your favourite team gets a throw-in. But, suddenly the referee finds something wrong with it and awards it to your bitter rivals. Moments like these leave you yearning to know more about these throw-in rules. That a referee sees while you don’t and find out if your anger. Or that of your team’s wing-back is justified.  

So, given all this, it is worthwhile to answer the question “What are the Football Throw-in Rules?” And how is a throw-in taken and how should it not be done? Let’s get started! 

What is a throw-in?

throw-in rules

A Football throw-in is the act of throwing the ball back into play to restart the game. Once the whole ball goes out of the field of play. If the player of one team is the last person to touch the ball. Then a player of the other team takes the throw-in. 

The convention is that the wing-back usually takes the throw-in. Because he is usually closest to the scene. And frees up the winger or other advanced players to help teams attack from the throw-in.

Also, the attackers are trained to win the first headers from the throw-ins and retain possession for the team. Which seems to be a significant objective of football throw-ins presently.  

what is throw-in location?

It should be kept in mind that the throw-in has to be taken from the exact place. Where the ball went out of play, be it in the air or on the floor. This is at the discretion of the referees. That point at an approximate spot at which the ball may have gone out of play. 

Players do try to manipulate the location of where the ball went out of play. But the referees are vigilant to any mischief. 

How to perform a throw-in?

Throw-in rules can be tough to grasp for some. But it is all about repetition and technique when it comes to throw-ins. To perform football throw-ins adequately and without any mistakes, a few throw in rules need to be kept in mind. 

throw-in rules

The thrower should be having his feet on the touchline. Or outside it, should face the field of play, and throw it using both his hands and over his head. During this process, the opposition players have to keep a sufficient distance of about 2 meters from the thrower. In order to allow him to throw the ball amicably. 

If they do not do that, the referee can warn them before the throw-in occurs. And penalize them with a free kick after it is taken. The thrower should bend his back and throw it firmly trying to aim at the feet of his teammate.  

Once a throw-in has been taken, it has to hit another person before the thrower can touch it again. It will be a foul throw if these throw-in rules are not observed accurately enough.  

What is a foul throw?

A football throw-in would be called a foul throw. When the procedure of taking it is not according to the throw-in rules described above. For example, a throw-in using one hand like the throw of a goalkeeper would be a foul throw.  

Also one of the throw-in rules is that if the outfield player throws it back to his keeper and the keeper handles it, it also becomes a foul. If the thrower touches the ball before it comes in contact with another player, the opponent team gets a free kick. 

Similarly, throwing from within the field of play would be a foul throw. Throwing the ball into your own path is also a foul throw and can be penalized by a free kick according to throw-in rules. One approach that can be done is throwing at the back of an opposition defender. This makes the throw in legal but of course can not be done regularly. 

In this way, the method of taking football throw-ins needs to be practiced time and time again to get it right during the pivotal moments of a game.  

A flip throw-in is when players take a flip before throwing the ball to add momentum to the throw. As such, there is nothing wrong with the flip throw in the throw-in rules. That is, of course, if these rules are correctly observed. 

The flip has to be done before approaching the line, and it has to be ensured that both feet touch the ground when releasing the ball. So, we would advise giving the flip throw enough time on the training ground before doing it on the pitch to save yourself the embarrassment of a foul throw. 

Can a goal be scored directly from a throw-in?

No, according to throw-in rules, a goal can not be scored directly from a football throw in. If indeed the ball goes straight into the opponents net, the opponent team gets a goal kick

And if it goes into the net of the person throwing the ball, the opponent team gets a corner kick. 

Why is a throw-in thrown with your hands?

This is a genuine question. Why is the game restarted by a throw using the hands when the game being played is football, and penalties are given when a player uses their hand? The reason for this seems to be the close relationship between football and rugby.  

These field games have a lot in common, and as both these games started to develop together in the United Kingdom, many of the elements were exchanged. As such, the football throw-ins seem to be a variation of the lineout in rugby, which is when the game is restarted as the ball goes out of play. Seems familiar doesn’t it? 

lineker’s & wenger’s opinions:

Having said that, some people like Gary Lineker and Arsene Wenger do object to the use of hands in the football throw-ins and want a free-kick to take its place. Lineker believes it wastes time and does not make sense using hands to throw the ball back into play while playing “Football”. 

Wenger believes that it offers an undue advantage to people with big hands that can practically kick a ball with the force generated from their big hands. However, these comments were made after his Arsenal side lost to two Rory Delap throw-ins, so we would advise taking these remarks with a pinch of salt. 

Is a throw-in considered a set-piece?

 Yes it is. A set piece is any instance where the ball goes out of play or any foul is awarded to a team. So football throw-ins are set pieces because there is a halt in the proceedings of the game during the throw-in, as is the case with free kicks and corner kicks, the two other kinds of set pieces. 

Being a set piece itself makes football throw-ins an opportunity to create an offensive opportunity as defenders can often lose concentration during a stop in the game. 

The Significance of Football Throw-Ins

throw-in rules importance

 While football throw-ins may be a trivial event for some teams, others take full advantage of this passage of play and use it to progress play and create chances. A throw-in can essentially be used in the same way as a corner kick and, if taken correctly, can be even more potent than a corner kick. 

an attacking tool?

One of the most famous examples is that of the Irish International Rory Delap at Stoke City. He was a javelin thrower from his school going days and used it to good effect, taking long throws for Stoke City in the Premier League. Such was his impact on the game that keepers would be okay with conceding corners rather than allowing him to throw it into the box

While the art of a designated long throw-in taker is dying out, it makes it all the more vital to bring it back and surprise teams with a form of attack rarely seen these days. Other approaches like a give and go, where the thrower gives the ball to a runner, gets it back from him, and then plays him through again is a popular way of launching attacks from throw-ins. 

wasting time?

Practically speaking, throw-ins these days are mostly just a way of retaining possession and not a way of progressing the ball or launching an attack. On the other hand, other teams use it as a way of wasting time, especially away from home when a bottom end side wants to take a result from a top side away from home. 


Football throw ins are a basic skill that need to be mastered through repetition. As such, knowing the basic throw-in rules is vital to keep possession and save your team from embarrassment from a foul throw. 

Using the long throw or flip throw should also be encouraged as a way to surprise opposition defenders. This is especially important these days with talks of replacing football throw ins with kicks from the side as it seems to be a mere formality instead of being a proper mode of attack. 

Let us know if you think throw-in rules need to be reviewed or they are perfect just right now. 

Here are Some of our Favourite Football (Soccer) Cleats

Here we will be giving more of an opinion, rather than facts. Are the cleats worth the price that they are being sold at? Should you upgrade from your current cleats, depending on what boots you own? What features stand out in these cleats? If any. Does it do the job? Speed, control, stability etc.

Depending on your needs/preferences. We can also mention its durability, if we have collected enough data on the specific cleats.

What did we expect vs. what we got. Is it maybe overrated/underrated?


Here’s our pick from the very best of the bunch.


On your way to the pro leagues? Here’s our pick.


Want something to start with? Have a look at our pick.


Enter your email to join our community.

Similar Posts