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Question Number: 29998

Law 4 - Players Equipment 12/14/2015

RE: Competitive Under 15

Antonio of Ormond Beach, FL United States asks...

If an away goalkeeper and the referees of a match have the same color jersey, is it the referee's responsibility to change color? Or is it the goalkeepers responsibility?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Antonio
Law 4 Player's Equipment state
• The two teams must wear colours that distinguish them from each other
and also the referee and the assistant referees
• Each goalkeeper must wear colours that distinguish him from the other
players, the referee and the assistant referees

Not often are a keeper and a referee are in proximity to be confusing although by the context of the written LOTG it would seem to indicate it is the keeper who is required to change!) I do not believe the match would be unplayable if the keeper could not change their jersey and the referee was ok with it.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Antonio
Interestingly this came up in a game that was brought to my attention by a league. The referee on the day asked the goalkeeper to change his jersey as it was the same colour as what he was wearing. The goalkeeper insisted that he had no change. Anyway after a standoff for a period the goalkeeper eventually found a change. The club complained to the League about the referees decision and the League sought an opinion.
Referee Dawson has quoted the relevant law and one can interpret the wording is that it is the goalkeeper that must wear colours that distinguish him from the referee not the other way around.
Now the interpretation and guidelines in the Laws also tells us that ** If the jerseys of the two goalkeepers are the same colour and neither has another jersey to change into, the referee allows play to begin**
Again what the lawmakers are saying is that while it is good practise to distinguish players clearly for all eventualities that where it is not essential for the normal playing of the game referees are advised to allow play and then report it.
If for some unusual reason that the referee is *mistaken* for the goalkeeper it will most likely be to the detriment of the defending team and they must live with the consequences of say perhaps a pass to the referee or assuming the GK is present because the player sees a similar coloured shirt.
For me if the goalkeeper has the same colour as the referee and he has no change then I will change and I have done so in the past as I can have at any one time four to five different colour shirts.
Now some competition rules (ROC) spell out clearly what must happen. The English FA Cup has the following in its ROC and I quote ** Goalkeepers must wear colours which distinguish them from the other players, and the Match Officials.
Clubs’ colours must not clash with the black and white outfit worn by the Match Officials. In the Competition Proper, where there is a clash of colour between the Match Officials’ kit and the players kit, the Match Official may, with the prior approval of The Association, change to an alternative colour..** So there the referee has to get permission from the FA and that has only arisen because referees now have multiple kits and colours.
Have a look at this photos
Would you consider these to be a clash of colours? Certainly in the last image the colour is identical.

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See Question: 30006

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