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Question Number: 28999

Law 7 - Match Duration 11/22/2014

RE: NCAA Division 3 Under 17

Shane of Manlius, New York USA asks...

I recently watched a game where a player, during the game, walked over to the touch line and took off his shinguards and tossed them away off the field. The assistant referee just told him to put them back on. Was this the proper thing for him to do? Or was it a yellow card for not wearing shinguards?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Shane,
Law 4 states very specifically shin guards are part of the mandatory equipment a player must wear. Often players wear crappy ones, too small and in truth ineffective for WHY you wear them in the first place. TO PROTECT! The AR would flag the CR to discipline the player if this player did not do as he asked and began playing. Aside from violating law 4 it creates PIADM law 12 situation while challenging for the ball. The caution would occur if the player disregarded the AR, continued playing until the referee intervened. THEN most definitely would this player pick up a senseless caution and if he is not substituted, and if he refused to put them on he is going to receive a second caution and be sent off. So all around dumb idea, The need to caution is still at the discretion of the referee but the AR is cutting the player a bit of slack by giving him a chance to make it right and get a pair of shin guards on or else!!!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Shane
Shin guards are compulsory and must be worn. So it is not possible for the player to play without them.
In FIFA / USSF games referees are advised here that a caution is not required but to ask the player to correct his equipment immediately. That can be done by sorting it on the field of play or leaving the FOP to correct same. The player must wait for the referee to give permission to return which could include a check that the equipment is compliant.
Referee Manjone has quoted the NCAA position

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


NCAA Rule 4.1.2 requires players to wear shinguards that meet NOCSAE standards. Players not wearing shinguards are not permitted to play and must leave the field. The player who is sent off the field for not having shinguards cannot return without reporting to the referee who must approve the players uniform to be in order.

It is not a caution to be without shinguards in NCAA play; however, in the situation that you mention, taking off the shinguards and throwing them off the field in view of an AR a could result in a caution for unsporting behavior or dissent.

The AR should have made the referee aware of the situation at the next stoppage of play.

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