Offside From a Throw-In: The Rules Are Clear


The offside rule is one of the most complex rules in soccer. To help you understand the details, I want to look at one aspect of the offside rule – offsides at a throw-in. Here, I’ll clearly explain to you if a player can be offside at a throw-in.

There is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a throw-in taken by a player on their own team. If there were an offside offense at a throw-in, the player taking the throw would be restricted in the direction they could throw the ball in the opposition’s half of the field.

To prevent this from happening, the offside rule does not apply in this situation.

To help you understand what this means and why it matters, in this article, I’ll explain:

  • Why being in an offside position at a throw-in is problematic.
  • How being offside would restrict a player throwing the ball up the field,
  • and then I’ll show you two other situations in soccer where there are no offsides.
can you be offside from throw title image

Why You Can’t Be Offside From a Throw-in

To understand why a player can’t be offside at a throw-in, you need to understand:

  • What it means for a player to be in an offside position,
  • and how that affects a player at a throw-in

Previously, I’ve explained the offside rules of soccer in more detail, but here I’m just going to give you the details you need to know as they relate to a throw-in.

What It Means to Be In an Offside Position

First, let’s look at what it looks like to be offside.

Being offside in soccer requires you to be in an offside position at the moment the ball was last played or touched by another player on your team.

Soccer rules say that a player is in an offside position if:

  • Any part of their head, body, or feet is nearer to their opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent,
  • And any part of their head, body, or feet is in their opponents’ half of the field.
example of a soccer player in an offside position
Example of a soccer player in an offside position

Although it’s not an offense to be in an offside position on the field, if a player is in that position when the ball is last played or touched by another player on their team, and they become involved in “active play”, then they will be committing an offside offense.

(Check out my article – Offsides in Soccer: A Clear Explanation – for more details)

The key fact to notice here is how easy it would be for a player to be in this position when another player takes the throw.

How Being in an Offside Position Affects a Player at a Throw-in

If the offside rule applied to throw-ins, a player taking a throw in the oppositions half of the field could not throw the ball forward to another player on their team.

They could only throw the ball to a player level with them, or behind them.

soccer player about to throw soccer ball
Soccer player about to take a throw-in

Let me explain this some more.

Because of what it means to be in an offside position, all the opposition would have to do to prevent a player from throwing the ball forward would be to all stand level with the player taking the throw-in.

If the opposition did this and the player taking the throw-in threw the ball to another player on their team who was standing closer to their opponent’s goal line than the player with the ball, then that player would have:

  • Part of their head, body, or feet nearer to their opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent,
  • and part of their head, body, or feet is in their opponents’ half of the field.

This means they would be in an offside position, and they would commit an offside offense if they touched the ball directly from that throw-in.

Player in offside position at a throw in
If there were offsides at a throw in

To prevent a team from being significantly limited at a throw-in, there is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a throw-in.

Instead, the rules allow a player to throw the ball directly to another player on their team that would typically be in an offside position.

There is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a throw-in because, if there were, a player would never be able to throw the ball further up the field if they were taking the throw from within the opposition’s half of the field.

When the Offside Rule Comes Back Into Effect After a Throw-in

As I mentioned initially, there is no offside offense only if a player receives the ball directly from a throw-in.

An example of “receiving the ball directly” would be the first player to touch the ball after a player releases the ball from their hands at a throw-in.

These players cannot be offside because they received the ball directly from the throw.

However, as soon as one player has touched the ball directly from the throw, the offside rule is in force again, and the next player to touch the ball could be offside.

If the players are not alert to this fact, they could easily make a mistake and find themselves penalized for being offside.

Two More Situations Where a Player Is Not Offside

Having looked a whether a player can be offside from a corner kick, I want to quickly explain the two other instances in a soccer game where a player cannot be offside.

They are:

  1. At a goal kick
  2. And at a corner kick

At a Goal Kick

There is no offside at a goal kick because this would prevent the player taking the goal kick from being able to pass the ball to any player on their team outside of their half of the field.

soccer Player taking goal kick
Soccer player taking a goal kick

If you think about it, because a player is in an offside position if:

  • Any part of their head, body, or feet is nearer to their opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent,
  • and any part of their head, body, or feet is in their opponents’ half of the field,

Then all the opposition players would have to do to prevent a player from the team taking the goal kick from receiving a pass would be to stand on the halfway line.

If all the defending players stand on the halfway line, then any attacking player in the attacking half of the field would have:

  • Part of their head, body, or feet nearer to their opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent,
  • and part of their head, body, or feet is in their opponents’ half of the field.

This would put them in an offside position, and they would commit an offside offense if they touched the ball directly from the goal kick.

To prevent this scenario from happening, there is no offside offense if a player receives the ball directly from a goal kick.

Check out my article – Offsides at a Goal Kick – to understand more about this scenario.

At a Corner Kick

After a throw-in and a goal kick, the third area where there is no offside offense in soccer is a corner kick.

The reason for no offside offense at a corner kick is a little different from both a throw-in and a goal kick.

There are no offsides at a corner kick because it is unlikely that a player will be in an offside position at a corner kick. Therefore, to eliminate any confusion, the rules of soccer removed offsides from this set-piece.

player taking corner kick
Soccer player taking a corner kick

As I’ve mentioned more than once in this article, being in an offside position requires a player to be nearer to their opponents’ goal line than the ball at the moment it is last played or touched by another player on their team.

The nature of a corner kick is that the ball is already on or very near the goal line when a player kicks it.

This makes it very hard for a player on the same team to be closer to the goal line than the ball.

There is no offside offense at a corner kick to minimize any confusion or tough calls by the referee.

Check out my article – Offsides at a Corner Kick – for more information on this topic.


There are many rules on soccer. To help you understand what they all mean I’ve written a number of different articles.

Check out one of the following:

Ben

Hi! My name's Ben. I've played, watched, read about, and enjoyed soccer throughout my life. I really enjoy finding out more about the game I love and sharing it with you all. Sign up to the yoursoccerhome.com newsletter here or check out more about me here - Ben Clayfield

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