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Question Number: 33013

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 1/24/2019

RE: 7 Under 13

Ethan Carter of Liverpool, Merseyside UK asks...

Hi all got my first game on Saturday its and U12 just wanted to know if a player has glasses on can you stop them from playing or do you have to inform the coach and the parent that if any injury or issue is caused then its their full responsibility

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Ethan
Yes the referee can prevent a player from wearing something that he considers dangerous and a risk to the player and opponents. It is covered in Law 4 as outlined by Referee Grove.
Glasses in my opinion pose a significant risk to the player as the frames if struck by a ball can break and cause a puncture wound which would be an extremely serious injury to the eye.
A work colleague told me about her son getting hit in the face by a ball at school in the yard which smashed his glasses and cut his face thankfully not seriously. It did highlight again for me the high risk of injury from glasses so my advice is to insist on any glasses being removed before play.
I can guarantee you that it is easier to be firm not to allow glasses etc rather than explaining to a parent whose child has been injured by glasses which it was allowed.
Ultimately it is up to each referee on the day. I know some who have not bothered or taken a risk by allowing same. Many times it works out although not always. When it doesn't is everyone including the referee prepared for the consequences? I know what my decision is which is fully supported in Law.
So best wishes with your first game. Enjoy the experience, give what you see and follow your instinct as to what is the best decision for the game. Hopefully it will be the first of many in a long rewarding refereeing career.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Ethan,
According to Law 4 - The Player's Equipment, ''A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous.'' It is the referee's responsibility and duty to apply this law (along with all the others) so yes, the referee can stop a player from taking part in a game if that referee considers the glasses to be dangerous.

I completely agree with ref McHugh that 'normal' spectacles (those not specifically designed and modified to make them safe for sports use) pose a distinct safety risk and should not be permitted. I actually have personal experience of this as I have been in the position of having a ball kicked into my face during a school playground kickabout while wearing glasses, leaving me with blood streaming down my face and scars on the inside of the bridge of my nose which are still visible to this day.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Ethan,
a referee has the obligation to deny a player his right to play if he knows or believes there is a significant risk imposed by the wearing of a faulty set of spectacles. There are many well made frames of superior strength which are a far cry from the coke bottle wire rimmed of yesteryear's. There are foam wrap specially designed sport glasses and & a secure strap which those playing should invest in if they are going to play continuously. I have seen glasses lost & stepped on because of no straps

Although I have denied the occasional player wearing glasses with wire rims and a twist tie used as a screw, I am likely more lenient than my colleagues who often chastise my decisions to allow MOST glasses if I feel they are of safe construction. I feel a youth playing at a young age is in greater danger not seeing properly than the risk of an eye injury due to wearing glasses. Perhaps I am naive or just lucky but in over 50 years I have not seen ONE eye injury or had one myself. The truth is the two eye injuries I did see were a finger inserted into the eye by another player. I played most every sport including tackle football wearing glasses much less safe than those constructed nowadays. The ones I currently wear can be run over by a truck and you can bend the frame into circle.
That said, it is your match, your decision, your reputation at stake. I have denied the occasional player wearing glasses withe wire rims and a twist tie used as a screw

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