a lot of evidence to the contrary, there is still a Law 15, and there
is also a requirement that referees enforce it. I have referred a
couple of times to the fact that many referees--not beginners, mind
you--are making no attempt to ensure that yards are not stolen when the
ball is returned to play. And stolen yards are not necessarily a
trivial issue. A quickly-taken throw from the wrong place can easily
start a surprise attack going; a throw taken well off the field will
enter it where defenders least expect it, and when they are not
expecting it. Time and space are the essence of soccer, and when a
player cheats to gain or lose one or the other, the laws require that
he be penalised.
With these thoughts in mind, and putting my scientist's hat on, I decided to measure the accuracy and timing of throws-in, in a major game played recently. With my referee's eyes open, a notepad in hand, a comfortable chair, and a stool upon which to rest my ailing knee (there's a replacement on the way), I relaxed in front of the telly to record the number and type of infractions committed at throws by players, yet unpunished by the referee.
I had never watched a complete game under the direction of this particular referee, but I knew of his reputation (enhanced under the program being directed by Brian Hall) as a tough guy, willing to make (now) the decisions he is supposed to make for the good of the game. So I was optimistic that he would be able to spot infringements of Law 15, pick out the ones that had an effect, and punish them accordingly.
You are free at this moment to guess what happened, since anyone over the age of two knows that life is full of disappointments . . .