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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33676

Law 18 - Common Sense 9/26/2019

RE: Rec, Club, High School High School

Susan Wiczynski of La Jolla, California United States asks...

The LOTG does not specifically address hair accessories (other than 'jewellery'). Are hair bows allowed? Things with knots? I'm sure metal and hard plastic are not. I am starting a company supplying matching hair ornaments for girls' athletic teams and want to be sure. Thanks.

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Susan,
Jewellery is generally considered to be anything ornamental - that's why even soft cloth wristbands are not allowed.
I can't quite picture what 'things with knots' are, but they sound potentially dangerous - in the same way that beaded hair would not be allowed.
As for 'hair bows' - you're correct that the LOTG aren't explicit on this sort of thing. So, that's going to come down to the referee on the day. Whether they allow it if it's not dangerous (or large enough to be a potential nuisance to opponents going up for a header), or choose to ban is as a hair tie is sufficient, is within the referee's judgement.
If somebody has, say, a hair bow tie to the back of the hair, what impact could that have on a player behind challenging for a header? Could they end up with the hair bow in their face? Perhaps I'm just picturing something different to what you are - but the referee could go either way. Sorry I can't give you a specific answer here!
If you have any samples, I wonder if it would be worth asking some local referees what their personal approach would be? While it wouldn't be a policy answer, it may give you some indication of whether they're likely to be accepted.
Good luck with your startup!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Susan
The test is whether the item is a safety risk for the player or opponents.
Hair bows that are not metal or hard plastic would in my opinion not be a risk yet the item would have to be functional rather than an ornament.
Ornament suggests jewellery which would not be allowed even made of a soft materials such as rubber, leather.
A hair tie to hold back hair is not considered jewellery.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


High School's NFHS Rule 4-2-2 states: Hair control devices may be worn if made of soft material and not for adornment. I would have to see one of your devices to determine how I would rule on it.

Since you call them ornaments and not hair control devices, I would doubt that they are legal, but since you are starting a business, I recommend that you sent a sample of your ornaments to the NFHS and ask for a ruling.

I hope this helps and that your business venture is successful.

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