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Question Number: 29319

Law 4 - Players Equipment 4/15/2015

RE: Under 12

Paul Petre of skelmersdale, United Kingdom asks...

hi could you tell if my 10 yrs old daughter can play with acrylic nails .As she has just been told by a referee that they are not allowed after saying she will cover them with gloves the answer was still no .
Could you please clarify if there is such a rule as i have been involved in running teams and playing for over 40 years and this is the first time i have heard anything so daft .

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Paul
Long nails are of no concern for referees as it is not jewellery. I suspect a referee has spotted the acrylic nails maybe due to their length / colour and has decided that the acrylic nails posed a risk to other players.
Ultimately though it is the referees decision as to what he considers a risk and he can prevent a player from playing as acrylic nails are artificial / worn. Also if gloves were suggested then taping / covering the risk is not acceptable.
It is part of Law 4 and I quote
* A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery*
I personally would not determine artificial nails as a risk and I would never consider same as a reason to prevent a player playing.
Obviously the referee on the game took safety very seriously which from another perspective can be seen as good. Would you rather have your daughters game officiated by someone who was safety conscious or someone who wasn't bothered?

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Paul,

Acrylic nails could pose a risk to other players so the referee is within his rights to be concerned about this.

Long nails can cause some nasty scratches, and I know other sports are particularly strict on nail length.

Not every referee will be concerned about it, and some may allow gloves instead, though some will follow the idea that gloves are like taping up jewellery, which is not allowed.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Paul,
As a referee I might not think glue on nails are necessary for her well being unless she suffers from chronic nail-biting but unless they are inordinately long or used to claw or scratch the opponent I likely just shake my head and allow play. As to the wearing of gloves, if I see no problem with the nails then I see no problem with the glove if it is has no ridges or clasps. In the cooler climates we wear toques and thermal underwear so gloves are not a big deal lol

That said if a referee has decided they are a safety issue then he will not let her play his match his decision his reputation! Unless your local association has adopted some weird bylaw excluding them it will be ITOOTR!


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Answer provided by Referee Ben Mueller

Honestly, it depends on the referee. I would not make a big deal about this...but I could see some referees considering it unsafe. FIFA leaves this up to the interpretation of the referee as if they are not safe. Acrylic nails are not a natural part of the players this could indeed be considered extra equipment and the referee is within his/her right to ask the player to remove them. Again, I personally would not deal with them unless I could see they were excessively sharp.

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