The sight of players meticulously drying the ball before taking a throw-in in the opposition penalty area will become a thing of the past in England’s lower leagues after clubs voted to ban the use of towels before throw-ins.
In a blow to those who use long throw-ins as a weapon of choice, English Premier League clubs voted to approve the rule amendment at their annual meeting on Thursday.
The rule would also prohibit players from using fan-supplied clothing to dry balls, a situation that emerged last November when a Rotherham United fan gave defender Wes Harding a jacket to dry the ball before a throw-in.
Although long throws are not among the best weapons in the game, they can be incredibly effective, and the rule change may have an impact on the newcomer to the fourth division, Wrexham, owned by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McLeany.
Long throw-ins from defender Ben Tozer were a constant threat to the Welsh club last season, as they were promoted to the fourth division.
The lower league competitions in England will follow the Premier League in adopting a multi-ball system to accelerate play in its competitions, starting from the 2023-2024 season.