While reading through the Law 1 section of the website, I seem to have found a contradiction that I was hoping you could sort out for me.
PLAYER POSITIONING AT THE KICK-OFF
February 19, 2008
“Therefore, if the players stand on the halfway line they are in their own half of the field. If their heads or feet are slightly over the line, it makes no difference.”
July 30, 2008
“Although it is not specifically stated, this same concept of “nearer to” should be used in determining if an attacker is in his opponents’ end of the field (i. e., if any part of his head, body or feet is past the midfield line.)
As explained, the player is “past the midfield line” in B and C because a part of the body that can legally play the ball is on or beyond the midfield line.”
I’ve had this question come up in a number of games with regards to offside calls (not positioning at kick-off) but the question of whether the midfield line is part of either or both halves still remains.
USSF answer (June 24, 2009):
You are talking apples and applesauce here; two different Laws covering entirely different situations. The halfway line belongs to BOTH halves. Foot position (or body position, for that matter) at the kick-off is treated similarly to the foot position for a throw-in: The foot may be on or behind or hanging over the line. For offside, the only thing that matters is where the parts that can legally play the ball are. However, in all cases, the offense, if any, is TRIFLING.