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Question Number: 22624

Law 4 - Players Equipment 12/8/2009

RE: Under 11

Corey of Lisburn, N.IRELAND asks...

Why do Refs check studs on Boots? has there been any cases where they have made a player change his boots?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Corey
Referees carry out boot check to ensure that there is nothing dangerous with studs, soles etc. These checks can discover missing studs, studs that have sharp edges and indeed some rubber can come off rubber studs leaving the metal screw exposed which is very dangerous. The threat of an inspection also put an onus on the player to ensure his boots and equipment are correct. The inspection will also include other items such as jewellery, shin pads, etc and I have asked players to sort out their boots before they are allowed to play.

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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Sharp metal studs can be dangerous, and the referee should inspect them. Boots made for soccer that have molded cleats rarely cause concern. It the referee determines that the boots are dangerous, they may not be worn during the match.

'Do I have to change them,' asks the player? 'No. Only if you want to play,' answers the referee.

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Answer provided by Referee Tom Stagliano


I believe there is some history and tradition to this 'boot check'.

Prior to the early 1980's there were few if any molded cleats.

Most of the soccer boots had a screw that stuck out from the bottom of the boot, and the 'cleat' threaded into the screw. Therefore, if a cleat was missing or broke off, there would be a wicked looking metal screw sticking out.

Additionally, in the USA, there was a worry (again most likely prior to the mid-1980's) that a soccer player might wear America football cleats or even worse baseball cleats (metal spikes) to play soccer. However, if anything, most kids/adults in the USA use soccer cleats for soccer and softball/baseball/football. Additionally, with the dramatic change in the FIFA laws (about 10 years ago) which governed the size and shape of the soccer cleats (used to be very specific and now it is almost anything that is manufactured by a legitimate shoe company for soccer), there is little worry of illegal cleats.

Personally, I spot check the players cleats as a wander about the field, inspecting the field and the players, prior to the game. Typically, the only time a full check of cleats is made around my area, is for U14 soccer and younger, merely to reinforce the notion that they must be wearing legal soccer cleats (boots) to every game.

Thank you.
- Stag

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Answer provided by Referee Steve Montanino

It's just one more thing to check to ensure player safety. The day you stop checking expect to see sharp spikes the next day at least one place in the world.

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