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: 33919

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 3/12/2020

RE: 3 Other

Rocky of Mumbai, Maharashtra India asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33919

Mr Joe McHugh: I never mentioned that the game should not have commenced or the Ref Mike Dean made a huge mistake. If you read my initial question, it refers to how were two teams allowed to play with similar colored shorts. Yes, games can be allowed in cases where there is a color clash, but here in an EPL game, when two teams are well aware of their kit color, did they or the Refs not feel the need to have it distinguished? Also, even I have allowed teams to play with similar looking color shades, and doing my best for tight call decisions. Lastly, definitely use if common sense is needed. We cannot go by every word that's written, but again the question - 2 top clubs, playing at the highest level of club football, sported the same color shorts in a game, which as per your understanding was the Referee's 'discretion'.

Mr Richard Dawson: Sir, we are in a modern era, and your reference dates back to half a century back when 'Black & White' was all we could see, in print and in reality. Again, I conclude, the Referee's 'discretion' was behind the same color shorts.

Mr Peter Groove: So if a Referee can distinguish between Red and Maroon quite easily, then the game goes on? Does he have to consider that he is the only person making close calls (especially offsides, which could be affected with similar color shorts clashing and not giving a clear view of which player was ahead and who wasn't). Your last question is confusing. Perhaps just saying 'distinguish' could make it sound right.

Im not in an argument with you guys. Just that I felt, such a high-profile game should have taken care of this especially if a close decision would have had to be made.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Rocky,
We appreciate your opinion but I hope you'll realise that it is only that. I hate to sound like a broken record but once again, the law does not specify that the colour of every single piece of the teams' individual items of equipment must be different.

If you were the referee in charge of this game, you would be entitled to say that you would not allow the game to go ahead and that would be your prerogative, however a referee that I'm willing to lay odds is a better and more experienced referee than either of us (certainly than me) - and arguably the top referee in the UK, saw fit to let this match take place.

He was perfectly entitled to make that decision and no laws were broken.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rocky
Behind every decision is a story.
In this case I have no doubt there is a story and one that we are not party to.
Say Referee Dean when he was inspecting the kit asked Manchester City if they had alternative shorts and was told no and that the team would have to go back to Maine Road to get the alternative away shorts of black or salmon which they did not want to do. If they said that the PL told them that they could play in their away kit and that they were sticking to that permission. Would that make any difference?
Ultimately it was Referees Deans decision to make and the options available to him may have been extremely limited depending on the circumstances
I once allowed a team in black and white stripes to play a team in red and black and to me it looked perfectly okay until I looked at both sets of jerseys out on the field of play having black backs. It did not cause any issues for the game and it was not mentioned nor commented on .
Have a look at this
Did the referee try to sort this? You bet he did yet obviously it could not be resolved?
There are also examples of teams in the EPL having to play in the home teams away kit because of kit clashes and no alternative suitable kit being available to the away team. In those examples the clash was just too obvious that there had to be a change.
In the United game it was not an obvious clash that had to be attended to and no Law was broken

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Rocky ,
we are grateful for your input and we do acknowledge
your opinion, no one disputes that its better to have a kit that is easily distinguished, I think we all agree on that but opinion cannot be presented as a fact! WE do not argue we present the facts as we are aware if them even if we might disagree.

Even now a days local leagues often have black socks and black short as their MAIN gear with a top jersey of divergent color white, red, blue, green etc.. so from the waist down a side glance might create an offside issue or a last touch issue.

It is often the two tone jerseys that create major issue as say a white side and solid blue front against an all white team. The blue with a white strip on the side made offside very difficult given both teams had on black shorts with black socks. SO yes mixed kits do create a headache for officials to get the call right.

While your observation is valid it does not alter the LOTG that permit a referee to go head with the match if only partially distinguished . AS long as the referee in charge WANTS to go ahead he HAS that discretion. If you wish that discretion be removed the LOTG would have to stipulate the match Can Not be played if any part of the kit is in conflict.

We are not actually in disagreement we are arguing semantics. Perhaps the top leagues will review the dress code and add their own rule of competition in if they feel it was an issue as he use of numbers on jerseys is not in the LOTG either.

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33919
Read other Q & A regarding Law 4 - The Players Equipment

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 33919

See Question: 33922

See Question: 33924

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 free 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. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>