In several forms of football a forward pass is a throwing of the ball in the direction that the offensive team is trying to move, towards the defensive team's goal line. The forward pass is one of main distinguishers between gridiron football (American football and Canadian football) in which the play is legal and widespread, and rugby football (union and league) from which the North American games evolved, in which the play is illegal.
In some football codes, such as association football (soccer), the kicked forward pass is used so ubiquitously that it is not thought of as a distinct kind of play at all. In these sports, the concept of offside is used to regulate who can be in front of the play or be nearest to the goal. However, this has not always been the case. Some earlier incarnations of football allowed unlimited forward passing, while others had strict offside rules similar to rugby.