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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33958

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 7/7/2020

RE: Alabama State League, Division One. Under 17

John-August of Huntsville , Alabama United States asks...

So if I’m wearing grip socks, do they have to match the color of the uniforms socks or can they be white. Most professionals use white grip socks but referees tell me they have to match the color of my uniform socks.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

The Laws of the Game expressly state that grip socks must match the main colour of the sock.
Law 4 states * socks – tape or any material applied or worn externally must be the same colour as that part of the sock it is applied to or covers*
So that is why tape and grip socks have to be the same colour as the sock.
As to the enforcement of this section of Law 4 it does vary and not all referees enforce it strictly. Some of the more modern sock boots have material around the ankle of varying colours including white. A grip sock on such a boot can look like part of the boot.
Recently Liverpool FC changed its sock design with a white bottom section. When I first saw it I thought that the referee had failed to implement the Law yet when I looked at it closer I saw that the sock design had changed. It also emerges that some of the players are using white grip socks so it looks like they are part of the sock.
Some of the players are wearing the new sock and some are wearing grip socks.
The issue is then when playing teams with white socks as close contact by players at the ball can cause last contact identification problems for the officials.
As a final comment it makes no difference what Pro teams are doing with socks or what last weeks referee decided. If a referee decides that the grip sock has to match the main colour of the sock that is all that matters.
My advice is that if a player wants to wear grip socks then he should source the required colour that matches his teams sock. The same would apply to undershorts and undershirts. The issue does not then arise.
As a final point I see young player wear white ankle socks over the regular sock to copy the Pro player. That sock if required could be worn under the team sock yet it is the look that is important. The functionality of a grip sock requires that when worn with a regular sock it has the foot section cut off the main sock and only the leg section is used with tape used to secured both together.

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