Gaining illegal ground at the throw-in has become so endemic in modern football that no-one seems to notice it any more. Aren’t there others out there like me who are totally fed up with it? I suppose it will become an issue when either it is done to such extremes that it simply cannot be overlooked, or when a trophy-winning goal is scored when the ball has been thrown in from clearly the wrong place. My personal dislike for the throw-in shuffle is documented in the preceding article, but what can be done? Here is a list off the top of my head.
- The referees can come down hard and strictly enforce the existing law (ie a throw in is to be taken at the same point at which the ball left the playing field). If it isn’t then it is deemed a foul throw and the throw is awarded to the other team.
- The referee, or assistant referee makes a small mark in the turf at the point at which the throw is to be taken.
- The referee or assistant referee uses vanishing spray to denote the point at which the throw is to be taken. This is my favourite idea. As an optional extra the assistant referee could have the vanishing spray stored in his flagstick, and he just shoots it out onto the turf.
- The sidelines are divided into (say) 10 sectors with small permanent marks on the sidelines to identify the sectors. The throw is then taken on the mark behind where the ball left play.
- The referee stands in line with the place at which the throw is to be taken.
One flaw to be overcome is that the assistant referee only covers half of the sideline, but the referee runs the diagonal between the unmanned sidelines so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. It must be stressed that these are merely my ideas which haven’t taken much time to figure out. Some may be more workable than others. A committee of experts should come up with a raft of workable ideas in no time. But that is exactly what FIFA doesn’t do. FIFA’s reforms centre around FIFA, not football’s on-field issues. There’s a lot of catching up to do.