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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33858

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 1/29/2020

RE: Competive

Renato of Mississauga , Ontario Canada asks...

In a game can both teams were the same coloured shorts and socks

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Renato
There is a reason why Law 4 states that teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other. So the answer in Law is NO
The reason is to help the teams in playing the game and the officials in making decisions.
Cases in point for example includes two players say in red socks challenging each other and a red leg kicks the ball out of play. Was it the attacker or the defender?
In a group of players an AR sees a player with red shorts, red shorts who kick the ball in an offside position. The jersey of the PIOP is screened. Is it offside or not?
As Referee Grove points out IFAB wants referees to use common sense in such situations. My advice is that the referee should do all in his power to get the team that must change under the Rules of Competition to source replacement kit. If that is not possible for whatever reason then my advice is to play the game and report the team in the match report.
Over the years I have seen plenty of gamesmanship between teams using kit as a spat to unsettle players before kick off. The referee has to enforce the Law and do his best to ensure that the game goes ahead. I have delayed games by 15/20 minutes while replacement kit has been sourced and other times I have gone ahead with no change as it was not possible to get replacement kit.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

The law states what is mandatory to be worn but it its a bit vague on the color scheme other than the two teams must wear colors that distinguish them from each other and the match officials .

I will step away a bit from the MUST be and say they should be. Note they do not strictly say all clothing MUST be different only that the official distinguish the players from one another and his ARS . Two teams with black short and black socks but one with a bright red jerseys and the other a brilliant blue jerseys . As a referee are you comfortable you can tell them apart??.

I recall a match where our team was supposed to play in red socks red shorts and red jersey The other team had black shorts and black socks with a blue & white jersey. One of our player forgot his red strip so he had black socks black shorts and a red jersey. The opposite coach complained but the referee said it was no problem. I offered to retrieves pair of extra red ones from the parking lot the referee said to me NO its NOT necessary and in fact seemed annoyed that my willingness to have our player change somehow undercut his authority as he said it WAS no issue! Never guess who scored the first goal lol We won handily 5 to zip and I did have the player change but the match was WAS protested but the protest WAS denied!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Renato,
If you mean can the two teams wear the same colored shorts and socks as each other then the answer in the first instance is no.

The Laws state quite clearly:

''The two teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other ''

In some very low level games such as the kinds of games sometimes referred to in the UK as 'Sunday League' or 'pub football' or in non-competitive matches, referees can sometimes get away with being more tolerant of colour-related infractions, using the principle stated in the, 'Practical Guidelines for Match Officials' section, as follows:

''Reference is made in Law 5 to referees operating within the framework of the Laws of the Game and the 'spirit of the game'. Referees are expected to use common sense and to apply the 'spirit of the game' when applying the Laws of the Game, especially when making decisions relating to whether a match takes place and/or continues.

This is especially true for the lower levels of football where it may not always be possible for the Law to be strictly applied.''

However in any game that does not fit within the category of ''the lower levels'' the shorts and socks of the two teams must be different.

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