Can A Goalkeeper Take A Throw In

Can A Goalkeeper Take A Throw In?

Last updated on February 17th, 2021

The time is running out as your team is attacking the opponent. Everyone is in the opposition half, and the defender from the opposing team clears the ball to your team’s half.

The only player left in the half is the goalkeeper. Will he be able to take the throw in if the ball goes out of play?

Soccer Shooting Drill - 4v2 To Goal x
Soccer Shooting Drill - 4v2 To Goal
Can a goalkeeper take a throw in?

A goalkeeper is able to take a throw in, even with his gloves on. There is no rule that prevents a goalkeeper from taking a throw in. However, this occurrence is usually rare and mainly occurs when the keeper is closest to where the ball goes out of play.

Here is an example of a goalkeeper taking a throw-in in a match.

He was not stopped by the referee and play was allowed to continue. As such, it is perfectly legal for a goalkeeper to take a throw in!

A goalkeeper cannot score from a throw in

However, a goalkeeper cannot score from a throw in. This is similar to the other outfield players.

The reason why they cannot score is due to this due this ruling in Law 12:

It is an offence if a player scores in the opponents’ goal directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper


This is the same reason why a goalkeeper cannot score directly by throwing the ball into his opponent’s goal!

Nevertheless, there are still other ways that a goalkeeper can score, such as from a goal kick or a drop kick!

The rules of taking a throw in

Here are the rules of taking a throw in, from Law 15 of the IFAB rule book:

At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower must:

  • Stand facing the field of play
  • Have part of each foot on the touchline or on the ground outside the touchline
  • Throw the ball with both hands from behind and over the head from the point where it left the field of play

All opponents must stand at least 2 m from the point on the touchline where the throw-in is to be taken.

The rules does not prevent goalkeepers from taking throw ins

From the rule above, there is no mention that a goalkeeper cannot take a throw in. Since he is a player on the pitch as well, he is able to do a throw in as well.

Some people may think that wearing gloves may give the goalkeeper an advantage since they increase the grip. However, the rule does not mention anything about the goalkeeper’s gloves too.

As such, the goalkeeper does not need to take off his gloves and can just throw the ball immediately!

So long as the throw in fulfils the criteria above, the goalkeeper is able to throw the ball into play.

Goalkeepers rarely take throw ins

However, this scenario rarely occurs in a game of football. Here are some possible scenarios where a goalkeeper may need to take a throw in.

#1 The goalkeeper is the only player left in your team’s half

Your team may be one goal down with a few minutes remaining, and your manager has decided to go into an ultra attacking mode. All of the players will be in the opposition’s half, except for the goalkeeper.

In this scenario, only the goalkeeper will be left in your team’s half. Everyone else will be taking part in the attack.

When the opposing team gets the ball, they will most likely clear the ball into your team’s half.

They will try to clear it as far away from their goal as possible.

Since there is no one left in the half except for the goalkeeper, they will most likely be the player to do the throw in. This is because time cannot be wasted to wait for another player to do the throw in.

#2 The goalkeeper plays as a sweeper keeper and is closest to the ball

Some goalkeepers have a new role as a sweeper keeper.

A sweeper keeper is a goalkeeper who plays further up the pitch. He is closer to his backline as he aims to sweep any loose ball and start a quick counter attack when the opportunity rises.

Since sweeper keepers are higher up the pitch, they may be the closest player to the ball when it goes out of play.

To not waste any time as well, the goalkeeper may be the one who takes the throw in instead of an outfield player.


It is perfectly legal for a goalkeeper to take a throw in. The rules do not mention any exceptions about goalkeepers taking a throw in.

So long as they are able to do a throw in properly, there is nothing against goalkeepers doing one!

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