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Question Number: 22799

Law 4 - Players Equipment 2/6/2010

RE: Under 13

Carl of Beckbury, Shropshire asks...

Is there a rule to say that players should have their shirts tucked into their shorts when playing

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Law 4 only requires players to wear a jersey. The USSF Advice To Referees provides, at 4.1, 'Players' jerseys must remain tucked inside their shorts, socks must remain pulled up, and each player must wear shinguards under the socks.' Thus, for matches affiliated with USSF, the answer is yes. Elsewhere, league rules may address the issue, but it is not a requirement of the laws of the game.

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Answer provided by Referee Tom Stagliano


You are from England. Per the FIFA LOTG and per the FIFA published INTERPRETATION OF THE LAWS OF THE GAME AND GUIDELINES FOR REFEREES which are published as part of the Laws of the Game, there is No requirement for a player's shirt to be tucked in.

Within the USA, we are further subjected to the USSF Advice to Referees, and there it states that shirts must be tucked in.

Here is some general guidance.
First, the game of soccer or Football is expected to be played in a Fair and Gentlemanly (male or female) manner. Neither a Gentleman nor a Lady would wear clothes in a dishevelled manner nor wear a shirt untucked. It is therefore Implied worldwide that soccer players should wear their uniforms in the manner in which the uniforms are designed.

Whether in the USA, in England or elsewhere, If the shirt is Designed to be worn outside the shorts, then it may. If the shirt is Designed to be worn tucked inside the shorts, then it should be.

Further more: It is an unfortunate situation but many players, worldwide, are grabbing opponents shirts and tugging at them. As a minimum that is a foul, and many times elevates itself to a cautionable level. It becomes more difficult for the referees to determine if this is occurring if players are wearing their shirts untucked. Is it untucked due to choice or because an opponent untucked it?

If you are advising your son or daughter or niece or nephew, tell them to wear their uniforms in a Proper Gentlemanly or Ladylike manner and keep the shirts that are designed to be tucked-in, tucked into the shorts.

Per the LOTG, the game of Football is a Tough and Combative sport, however it is expected to be played by Ladies and Gentlemen.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Carl
In the UK there is no requirement for players to tuck in their jerseys. Law 4 covers the players' equipment and the law states that the only requirement for proper wearing of equipment is that socks must be pulled up to cover the shinguards fully. Other than that there is no instructions on any other equipment. Some players like to tuck them in while others do not.

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

There are lots of things that are required by the Laws of the Game that are not printed in the book. The classic example is that a player who receives a red card cannot be replaced - that requirement is nowhere to be found written in the Laws.

The great rewrite of the LOTG in 1998 left the Additional Instructions out of the printing, but none of that information was repealed, it was just not printed in the book any more - it was assumed everybody knew it. Relevant to your question, there was a section on Players' Outfits which said:

'(a) The referee shall ensure that each player wears his clothes properly and check that they conform with the requirements of Law IV. Players shall be made aware that their jersey remains tucked inside their shorts and that their socks remain pulled up. The referee shall also make sure that each player is wearing shinguards and that none of them is wearing potentially dangerous objects (such as watches, metal bracelets etc.).'

Since then, the IFAB has also ruled that one piece jerseys are unacceptable, that jerseys meant to be worn outside the shorts are okay (which by analogy, means that if the jersey is meant to be tucked in, it must be), and that players wearing undershirts with slogans or advertising on them and who reveal said message during a game must be sanctioned.

One can only conclude that if the referee decides the jerseys must be tucked in, then they must be tucked in - end of story.

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