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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 25863

Law 2 - The Ball 1/1/2012

RE: competive Adult

Rusty of Auckland, Auckland New Zealand asks...

Our 9 year old son is an exceptionally talented soccer player who is regarded as a natural.

Jared however, has a form of colour blindness that makes a yellow ball virtually invisible to him even against white.

Our questions is

Could a suitable colour alternative ball to yellow be used in snow that has as good a visibility or even better such as orange where a player is colour blind?

We understand that yellow is often used in snowy conditions as players see the ball far better.

Our little star, we have no doubt will play for a top premier team one day and it would be a truly sad day, if a gifted talented star is denied playing because of his colour blindness to yellow, if a yellow ball is chosen for the match.

Colour blindness affects 8% of all males and this would equate to nearly 5 million people in the UK alone.

This is a really important question to us and would like to get the right ruling on this as it would affect his future career in soccer.

Thanking you so much for your expert opinion in this matter

Yours sincerely

Carol Bertram

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

With all due respect, your son's colorblindness is the least of his troubles. There is no way that a 9-year-old can be identified as a future star. A child that age should be playing for the joy of the game, not to satisfy some fantasy of parents or coaches. Let him be a child.

The Laws of the Game do not specify any particular color for the ball. That said, you could probably approach your youth league to explain your son's colorblindness. Most authorities are willing to make reasonable accommodations to assist players; some laws might require them to do so. The league could direct the referee to ensure that a suitable color ball was used. That ball might have to be provided by your son's team, because it would be unreasonable to expect all teams to have one on hand.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Carol
In the Premier League the balls are provided by Nike under a generous sponsorship deal. The current ball comes in two colours namely white and high viz yellow. In the Championship the balls are provided by Mitre with team colours provided on the white ball.
As these balls are part of the competition rules they must be used for all games and the referee has only one choice to make which is to use the white ball or the high viz yellow. In the last number of weeks the PL has moved away from the use of the white ball to the yellow ball in most games.
In the World Cups the ball have traditionally been provided by Adidas and as it is a summer competition the ball has been predominately white with colour designs
In the Champions League the ball is again provided by Adidas and it is always a white ball with a dominant star design colour such as in 2011 the star colour was red. Again the ball as approved must be used and the referee has no choice in the matter.
If you feel strongly enough about this I suggest that you make contact with the main ball manufacturers about the use of yellow in match balls to highlight the issue

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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

Red/Green colorblindness is a sex linked trait that affects 6.3% of males worldwide. Other than messing up the colors of m&ms and making sure to remember that a traffic light has green on the bottom and red on the top, it's not considered much of a disability.

There is a rare yellow/blue form of colorblindness, but I can find nothing where a person cannot see yellow.

But this is immaterial. There is no way a 9 year old child should be planning a professional soccer career. At 9, he should be having fun and nothing else. Even if he is the prodigy you think he is, there are hundreds of things that could happen to prevent him following a soccer career.

Number one is the kid gets sick of soccer and quits. I have seen far too many excellent young soccer players get burned out due to pressure applied by well meaning parents and coaches and quit by the time they are 16.

If your child cannot see yellow it's so rare I can't find anything on it. If you feel this could be a problem, document the colorblindness and go to your local officials and request no yellow balls be used. In the meantime, make sure he is having fun

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