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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 35205

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 11/7/2023

RE: Competative Adult

Tom Pennington of Gainesville, VA US asks...

I seem to remember that the LOTG allowed for the exemption of Medical or Religious jewelry to be worn if determined not to be dangerous, but I can't seem to find that reference anymore in Law 4.

Is this something covered by IFAB/LOTG or is this a local/club/rules of competition thing?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tom
It is one of those interpretation situations that has become tacit knowledge with many referees adopting zero tolerance on cosmetic jewellery yet being relaxed about medical and religious items.
In the past associations issued advice yet that was frowned on by IFAB and subsequently removed. I recall US Soccer stating that **the only jewelry that is permitted in the United States is (a) medicalert jewelry for the purpose of aiding emergency medical personnel in treating injured players and (b) certain religious items that are not dangerous, are required by the religion to be worn, and not likely to provide the player with an unfair advantage (and even for the religious items, the player must have permission from the competition to wear it).** source Jim Allen.
Not sure anyone every sought permission

I know a young player who has been instructed to wear a medical alert bracelet at all times and he gets very upset if a referee asks him to remove it. Most if not all referees now allow him to wear it under his jersey sleeve.

Now Law 4 is explicit on jewellery in that it states that no jewellery can be worn and is forbidden. FIFA also does not like the rubber wrist bands I suspect more to do with slogans than safety. It would take a big stretch for a flimsy rubber band to cause injury excuse the pun.

I have zero tolerance on rings, piercings, heavy chains as they can and do cause injury. I know of a player who lost his ring finger in a training game after the ring got caught in a metal fence as he reached out to stop his fall.

Now we all know that some players have to wear medical alert bracelets as already alluded to earlier so for me it has to be allowed. Similarly some players like to wear say a religious medal on a light cord or very fine light chain which would snap at the slightest pull. These would be no risk to the wearer or to an opponent.
Some players have to wear a hearing aid which is not considered jewellery

So my advice is to consider whether the item is jewellery or an item worn for safety, medical or religious belief. I have not come across any medic alert bracelet or say religious item on a cord causing any injury to the wearer or an opponent.
I personally have been prepared to take the risk rather than getting involved in a spat concerning medical safety or religious belief.
I have taken on players about rings, earrings, glasses, chains to the point of not allowing them to play unless they are removed.
Many times it is knowing what to look for rather than going to look for something that does not need to be addressed. If I notice what is a religious medal chain I am not getting focussed on that yet if I see *BA Baracus* type wrist and neck chains I will deal with it.

I hope that helps

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Tom,
the LOTG state no jewelry but they do make an exception for soft coverings. hijabs,
turbans etc.. Padding or covering a bracelet or necklace or earrings is generally frowned upon although I have seen local bylaws state if covered and DEEMED safe they can be permitted. If you PAD a medical alert it should STATE there is a med bracelet UNDER that padding .

If they are -VISABLE-
most competition referees will say they have to be removed per the LOTG mandate.

The fascination with eyebrow piercing, lip, nose & tongue is ridiculous . A face full of metal just waiting for?? Since we are not meat inspectors the breasts , toes and private areas, I simply do not care!

Because of advanced medical, eye surgeries and contacts as well as padded safety sports glasses the modern game era can apply the strict safety code. When watching the recreational matches in Africa I saw eye glasses held together with wire and tape, amputees playing with carved wooden legs in crutches and bare feet . Its a game, we make it happen and use common sense with realistic expectations.


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