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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 26970

Law 4 - Players Equipment 11/3/2012

RE: Competitive Adult

Keith Helson of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Canada asks...

Can goalkeepers wear the same colour jerseys as referees?

I ask this as I'm watching Man City/West Ham match and a keeper and the ref are both wearing yellow jerseys. Joe Hart's jersey is slightly duller yellow compared to Howard Webb's but there is very little difference in shade.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Keith
Generally that should not happen and the Laws state that each goalkeeper must wear colours that distinguish him from the other players, the referee and the assistant referees . However if efforts were made to find an alternative with none readily available the referee should allow the game to proceed. It also happened in the Manchester United v Arsenal game where the Arsenal keeper also wearing yellow as was the referee crew.
The Laws states that if the jerseys of the two goalkeepers are the same colour and neither has another jersey to change into, the referee allows play to begin.
Another factor here at the highest level is the shirt brands and the sponsors logos on the shirts. Teams at the professional level are contracted to wear these shirts with the sponsor's logo in all games and the GK is an important one.
In the Arsenal case the 2nd goalkeeper shirt is all red which could not be used against Manchester United while in the Man City case the GK's 2nd jersey is green which would have clashed with the West Ham goalkeeper. West Ham's away goalkeeper's jersey is yellow so that option was not any better.
So from all that the possible permutations made about shirts the referee crew made the best decision possible and it is more important that the goalkeeper's do not wear the same colour whatever about clashing with the referee. It can happen late in the game that both GKs are in the same penalty area as happened in the Bolton v Cardiff City game which can cause a major issue for the officials when their shirts are the same colour.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

Technically, the keepers or players cannot wear colors that match the referees. They are required to change.

Commonly, though, the referees will change if they can, because there are three or four of them versus a whole team. If a color conflict cannot be resolved by game time, the referee crew should allow the game to proceed, and include details in their report.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

In professional matches, the referees are usually told which colors they will wear by the match inspector.

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