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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34014

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 10/3/2020

RE: Select Under 19

Gary Robinson of Pleasant Grove, UT USA asks...

What is the appropriate punishment under Law 4 if a player is found on the field of play wearing illegal equipment?

During my pre-game check in, I always remind players "no necklaces, earings, wristbands, braclets, watches, fitness trackers, or other non-uniform equipment." I also take that time to scan the players for any potentially offending items. In a recent match, about halfway through the second half, I noticed a player with a woven leather braclet on his wrist. At the next stoppage, I sent him off at the nearest point, told him to run around the outside of the pitch to to his bench, remove the offending braclet, and I'd check him in at the next stoppage. I then restarted play with his team playing 10 vs 11. After the game, his coach approached me to (respectfully) discuss the situtation. His opinion was that I should have held play until the player could remove the braclet and return. I told him that I felt that all players had been counseled during the pre-game and he had chosen to ignore the instructions. One of my AR's mentioned that he'd see other centers issue a yellow card caution, but hold play until the issue was corrected. That seems overly harsh.

This match was 15 and 16 year old players, mid-level league. This league is still playing under the 2019/20 laws.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gary
Thanks for the question
As described you handled this correctly. It is not a caution unless the player ignored a direct instruction to remove the item. Some referees look on it as unsporting behaviour by ignoring a general instruction which I believe is harsh particularly on something that is not viewed as dangerous.
In this case the player opined that the item was not dangerous or fitted within the meaning of jewellery. I see many referees allowing pliable soft bands as they deem them not to be dangerous. I suspect FIFA was more concerned about the slogan aspect of some bands rather than being intrinsically dangerous. Probably no more dangerous than a sweat band which would be allowed,
By the way if the player can correct the equipment immediately on the field he does not have to leave to do so. Generally items that have to leave the field of play to be dealt with such as a ring removal would require the player to give it to a member of technical staff for safe keeping. If the player was beside the technical area it could be done instantly, checked and play resumed.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

If this was a high school game under NFHS rule 4-3, a caution (yellow card) would be given. The head coach would receive the first caution issued. All subsequent cautions would be issued to the player. In both instances, the player with the illegal equipment would have to leave the game and could not return until the next opportunity to substitute. The player could be replaced.
Safety is a prime consideration in high school games so that having illegal equipment that a player with illegal equipment is taken very seriously. If the illegal equipment poses an immediate threat, the game should be stopped and the player sent off. If it is not an immediate threat the player can be sent off at the next stoppage.
You did ask about U19 games, but I do hope that you get to work one of the girls high school finals at Rio Tinto Stadium.

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