Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 32650

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 8/14/2018

RE: Rec Under 17

Bernie of Denmark, Western Australia Australia asks...

I note in the FIFA rules that there is nothing stated about whether it is legal to wear shorts with OUTSIDE pockets.

However, I do see that 'A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player'.

Are outside pockets on shorts considered dangerous?

I have instructed my players not to wear shorts with pockets because in my day I was told it was dangerous.

I don't see professional players wearing shorts with pockets either during a game.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bernie
Pockets would not be considered dangerous and there is no issue whatsoever about shorts with pockets being worn. I personally have never heard any concerns ever about pockets so it must be unique to your part of the world. I doubt very much though that any referee is going to check for pockets. Even viewing them close up pockets are tailored in such a way that the pocket is concealed.
As to the reason why most soccer shorts do not have pockets is that
1. Players have little if any use for them
2. The additional cost and the shorts are made as basic as possible with little fabric use. 3. Shorts with pockets are available yet teams see little benefit in them for the extra cost.
Some sports codes such as rugby use shorts with pockets although that is decreasing. It was a tradional thing plus players could use the pocket temporarily for holding a mouth guard.
I know from experience that running with anything heavy or bulky such as a set of car keys in the pocket is extremely annoying.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

I wouldn't consider pockets to be dangerous. Sure, a finger might be sprained or dislocated from getting caught in the pocket.....but I've seen sprained fingers just from getting caught in the folds of the jersey.

Competition rules may prohibit shorts with pockets, but when they don't I don't see any reason for them to be considered dangerous.

Of course, the referee on the day may disagree!!

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Bernie,
Although I would not prevent a player or players from participating due to pockets I think it is a good idea NOT to wear shorts with pockets to avoid carrying something into the FOP you forgot to take out. Keys strike me or a wallet or just about anything . I disagree slightly with my colleagues as I think they are unsafe in some ways and are an easy finger hook.
Still as a referee we wear shorts with pockets all the time, be a bit of a harden individual to find fault if the player did

The general reason is the jerseys and shorts are designed without pockets to do exactly what you are concerned about be as safe as possible and given nothing is to be carried onto the FOP pockets serve no useful purpose except to give a lazy players a place to rest their hands. Not exactly what a coach would want.


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32650
Read other Q & A regarding Law 4 - The Players Equipment

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.