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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33917

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 3/10/2020

RE: 3 Other

Rocky of Mumbai, Maharashtra India asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33914

Thanks for the clarification but none of the answers are really convincing. Firstly, they contradict the Law which clearly uses the word - 'distinguish', and I suppose it refers to being different. And how can the referee be given the authority to allow play in such a case. Wouldn't it be difficult for the other match officials (Linesmen) or even VAR in picking up a close offside call. May be the law cannot be followed to every word of it, but logically, such decisions can be taken to avoid confusions and contradictions.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rocky,
Did you expect us to say *under no circumstances allow a game to proceed if the teams have the same shorts / socks* and that Referee Mike Deam made a major error in thr United / City game by allowing both teams to have white shorts. Of course not.
As I say to referees it is your game to call not mine or anyone else. If a referee tells me that he requested a kit change yet none was possible and he allowed the game to proceed then that is fine. I have allowed games where the socks / shorts were the same and I told both teams not to expect me to get every tight contact decision correct.
So the Laws allow for a great deal of discretion on behalf of the referee. Law 4 simply says that *The two teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other and the match officials*
IFAB tells us that **Footballs Laws are relatively simple, compared to other team sports, but as many situations are subjective and referees are human (and thus make mistakes) some decisions will inevitably cause debate and discussion.
For some people, this discussion is part of the games enjoyment and attraction but, whether decisions are right or wrong, the *spirit* of the game requires that referees decisions are always respected.
The Laws cannot deal with every possible situation, so where there is no direct provision in the Laws, The IFAB expects the referee to make a decision within the *spirit*of the game – this often involves asking the question, *what would football want/expect*
IFAB also tells us
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.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Rocky
I echo my colleagues' sentiments you are applying a level of specificity that is not there! I been in the game 50 years black socks black shorts with a light or dark top was all there was starting out . . If the clash was to close a colored training pinny over top or with boys, shirts and skins. If the referee feels comfortable HE or SHE can distinguish the two teams the match is defined as OK, no matter you as a coach might think the offside goal resulted in legs that matched.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Rocky,
When the law says that, ''The two teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other and the match officials,'' then that's exactly what it means. So if the referee can look at the colours two teams are wearing and tell them apart, then the law is not being contradicted, it is being followed.

I think you're trying to apply a level of specificity and detail to the law, that it just doesn't contain.

Remember, the law does not say that the shorts of both teams must be a different colour, only that the colours - taken as a whole, must allow the referee to tell the teams apart.

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