The throw-in controversy goes back more than 150 years

The new football

KNVB wants to replace the throw-in with the kickoff from next year, starting in the first division. This gives new life to a discussion that is more than a century and a half old.

The throw-in comes from a rugby picture, from the Deutsche Fotothek . collection Across European

Imagine a sport without an umbrella association responsible for the rules of the game. There is a very good chance that each city or village will be played differently. It was exactly the same in the 19th century when modern sports were emerging and everyone was kicking the ball their own way. And this is not a bad thing, because there were no matches outside the home region.

The Barnes football club From London, for example, one of the oldest rugby clubs in the world. Over 150 years ago, it had a strange rule: if the ball left the field, the team that caught the ball could return it to play it. outside the lines Be the first to catch up. This is very different from what we are used to, because the ball now automatically heads to the other side for an entry throw.

Under Barnes Football Club rules, play has not stopped outside the lines. In the end, whoever gets the ball must keep it. The audience even got an active role by blocking him from reaching the opponent! There is no longer any distinction between the participants and the audience.

For example, around 1860 there were no universal rules of the game, which also meant that there was no difference between football and rugby in the UK. These football sports are becoming more and more popular, so that the need for standardization of the rules of the game has increased. The more clubs want to participate in the competition, the more important it is for all participants to agree under any rules. If a club had different rules than Barnes Football Club, there would be problems between players and spectators.

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And so in 1863 FIFA Founded, known as the Football Association. This organization wanted to set clear rules for this sport, which in our eyes is still similar to football and rugby.


One of the biggest talking points in 1863 was the throw-in, which was originally invented by rugby players. It is not surprising, because in this sport the ball is taken in hand all the time. On the other hand, in football, the goalkeeper is only allowed to take the ball in his hand and then in a specific area as well.

Even playing the ball by hand made the final division between football and rugby. The creation of the Football Association is the official confirmation of this, because from then on its members officially played football. Rugby union supporters withdrew to rugby.

“A player is not allowed to walk with the ball in his hands,” so it ordered the first draft of the FA’s rules. To further emphasize the difference from rugby, footballers were also prohibited from kicking other players or making physical contact with an opponent.

The only exception for soccer players handling the ball is during a throw-in. This makes it the only rule of the game in 2022 that football still defines from rugby, that is, prior to their 1863 divorce.

The KNVB has now reopened that debate after 159 years, even if it’s not all about football rules. Ultimately, this responsibility rests with you International Football Association Board, who is more conservative than any pope. If the union succeeded in banning the throw-in, the 1863 division between football and rugby would finally be completed.

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Amber Webster

 "Freelance zombie fanatic. Devoted web advocate. Analyst. Writer. Coffee fanatic. Travelaholic. Proud food aficionado."

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