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Question Number: 29258

Law 4 - Players Equipment 3/22/2015

RE: jr academy Under 13

Coach Paul of Mt P, SC USA asks...

Greetings - I'm a former coach and now get to just enjoy watching my son play for an academy team now. Today he played in a tournament in which the opposing team had multiple players wearing same jersey numbers -- two #8's, two #9's, two #10's and two #11's -- often times the duplicated numbers were on the field at the same time -- which can be confusing to the players when trying to communicate who has what player covered. I cannot find a FIFA rule requiring unique jersey number for each player -- is there a FIFA rule governing that?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
There is no FIFA Laws of the Game rule covering shirt numbers. It is always a competition rule whereby the competition organisers set out what is required in shirt numbers. Some competitions require squad numbers whereas others simply require a team to provide players with a numbered shirt in line with the players roster number which is provided to the referee before kick off.
It would be highly unusual for a team to have four sets of identical numbers and contrary to all competition rules. Referees would have a problem with this from an identification viewpoint. If say player #8 was cautioned would the referee know which one? It should not happen although if there is no rule then the referee may have to accept it if the team does not have alternative numbered shirts.
I recall in the 2012 EURO qualifier game between Russia and Ireland Richard Dunne of Ireland got blood on his shirt. Ireland did not have a 5 replacement shirt and the referee would not allow an un-numbered shirt to be used. Ireland technical staff used a black marker to mark a 5 on the shirt to meet the competition rule requirement.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Paul,
While not specifically within the LOTG most ROC( Rules of competition) request the player be identified using his name and a corresponding jersey number on the roster. The Id badge with picture usually has a photo and name but no jersey number.A referee should use common sense when faced with such an issue as my colleague REF McHugh makes the point that a felt pen or tape can be added to a change a number on a jersey or make a new number on a blank jersey. ie 1 in front of 8 =18 add a zero after 2 you get #20 easy piecey! I once had a team play with two identical sets of jerseys sets yet 5 duplicate numbers. the way to tell them apart was red numbers on one set, black numbers on the other lol

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