In American football
and Canadian football
a lateral pass
is an intentional throwing of the football by a member of the team in possession of same, to or toward a player on the same team who is no closer to the goal
of the team in possession than the player throwing the ball.
A lateral pass, in order to qualify as such, cannot advance the position of the football in and of itself.
This maneuver is permissible at any time and from any position during a play
, as opposed to the forward pass
, which is only permitted one time during a play, and only from behind the line of scrimmage
In College football, the lateral pass is used more extensively than in professional football, more in the same manner as is done in rugby.