Football Throw-In Rules Explained

Football, often referred to as soccer, is a sport that has gained a lot of attention and claimed its spot as one of the most popular sports in the world. This sport has a rich history behind it. Just like any other sport, football also has its own set of rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are set so that the game is fair for everyone and to make sure that the audience enjoys the game. However, there are some rules that can sometimes be confusing for the people watching the game. One of these rules is the throw-in rule. 

Today we are here to discuss everything you need to know about throw-ins in football and how they come into play. Since throw-ins can be a big part of deciding the flow of a match, it is important to be familiar with the rules. If you need clarification about rules regarding this aspect of the game then we suggest you keep on reading! 

Starting from the Basics

Before we get into the rules, let us take a look at what a throw-in is and how it even occurs. When the ball is completely out of the touchline on the field, a throw-in is awarded. It is crucial to keep in mind that the team that was not responsible for the ball crossing the touchline is the one that is awarded the throw-in. 

When a player from a team that is awarded the throw-in, throws the ball back into the field, the game is then restarted. The game is continued once the ball comes back into play, and this is a reason why throw-ins can give the awarded team some strategic advantages. 

Why with the Hands?

This is genuinely something that a lot of people ask about. The game that is being played is football and there are penalties that are given to the opposition team if a player in your team touches the ball with their hand inside the field. Every other foul is taken with the feet as well. However, the reason behind throw-ins being played with the hands is most likely because of the close ties between rugby and football. 

Both of these field games started to develop around the same time in the United Kingdom and thus share quite some similarities. Throughout their development alongside each other, there were a number of different elements that were shared. 

If you know anything about rugby then you should know that when a lineout happens in rugby, which is when the ball is sent out of the field, the method of restarting the game is also with a throw-in. According to many, this seems to be the case for why throw-ins started to be taken with the hands. 

Why is Executing a Throw-In Properly Important?

Even though throw-ins look like a pretty simple and straightforward rule, it is actually something that requires maintaining a few rules and a good amount of precision. Depending on the way a throw-in is played, a player can easily take control of the game’s flow. This can help to maintain possession of the ball or even create an opening to attack. 

Generally, throw-ins are taken by the wingbacks of the team since most of the time they are the players closest to the ball. This can help the winger to move up after throwing the ball into play or allow the strikers to move up and create a chance to score a goal. 

In the present, the main purpose of the throw-in seems to be maintaining the possession of the ball. Players now even receive training in order to properly receive the ball so that they can keep possession. 

It is important to keep in mind that throw-ins need to be played in a specific way. The majority of people, especially people who have recently gotten into football, think that a throw-in can be taken from beside your head or from an even lower height, but that is not the case. A legal throw-in needs to be taken from above your head. Any lower than that will result in a foul throw-in. 

The reason behind the ball having to be thrown with both hands from above and behind your head is quite simple. This ensures that all throw-ins are standard so no one can complain and all the players can enjoy playing a fair game. 

The Standard Rules for Throw-Ins

As we mentioned before, throw-ins may look simple but they follow quite some rules that need to be adhered to. Below are the rules that need to be maintained if you want to perform a proper throw-in.

  • Feet on the Touchline

The very first rule that we will talk about is making sure that your feet are either on the touchline or behind it. A throw-in becomes illegal if you have any of your feet inside of the touchline when throwing the ball back into the field. 

  • Maintaining the Proper Method

This is something that we just mentioned above. Keep in mind that you cannot legally take a throw-in from anywhere else but above your head. When throwing the ball your hands also need to be behind your head to ensure fairness for all players. This also maintains a standard for throw-ins throughout every game. 

  • Opposition Distance

When a team is awarded a throw-in, it is necessary for the opposing team players to maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from the player taking the throw. This is to help make sure the thrower is able to throw the ball civilly. If an opposition player does not maintain this rule the referee is allowed to give the player a warning to move further back. The referee can even penalize the team with an indirect free kick after the throw-in is taken. 

  • Double Touch

This is a simple rule that states that the thrower cannot touch the ball right after throwing it in unless it hits another player first. Whether the ball hits a teammate or an opposition player, it needs to hit another player before the thrower can touch it again.


Throw-ins in football can be hard for some people to grasp, but keeping these rules in mind can easily help you understand them better. If you do not want to be the one playing a foul a throw-in then you must adhere to the rules listed above. We hope this helped you understand throw-ins better!