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Question Number: 31259

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 2/14/2017

RE: Club Under 13

Todd Andrew of Dana Point, CA USA asks...

It seems that IFAB Law 4 clearly states that a Goalkeeper cap is permitted during play. FIFA equipment guidelines (section V. Special Equipment, number 22 Goalkeeper cap) even show a 'typical' soft top 'baseball' style cap. Our goalkeeper had a plain black soft style baseball cap on in the second half to shield eyes from the sun, the other coach complained, referee said it is not allowed and made our goalkeeper remove it. Can you please let me know whether the referee can disallow a cap under the pretense that it is 'dangerous' if it has a brim? This seems to be what referees say regarding a typical soft style cap. Or they just say that hats are not allowed at all, which seems to be clearly wrong. Thanks in advance.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Todd
Goalkeepers ARE allowed to wear a soft cap with a peak and it is expressly stated in the Laws. I suspect the referee here was coerced / bullied by a coach into not allowing a goalkeeper to wear a cap for the obvious reason of protection from sun glare. Very disappointing really and poor form by the coach to do this.
If one does an internet search of *goalkeeper baseball cap* there is any amount of photos of goalkeepers in matches wearing baseball caps. In my game at the weekend both goalkeepers wore caps while playing into the sun to help them with vision. We live in a climate here where sun is rarely an issue and caps would never be questioned so one would think that in California with its sunshine levels that caps for goalkeepers should not even be a consideration to be questioned.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Todd,
As you correctly state, goalkeepers' caps are allowed as per the Laws of the Game. It is of course the referee's prerogative to decide what is or is not dangerous but if this was as described, a normal soft baseball cap, I can see no reason why your keeper should not have been allowed to wear it.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Todd,
the referee was incorrect to listen to the coach. Soft shelled hats with a soft brim are permitted. That said, a referee has the power and the duty to not permit anything he deems as unsafe. Whether the decision is fair or a good one or if you agree might be debateable as to its necessity but it IS ALLOWED under the current LOTG as the referee is the FINAL arbiter of justice no matter if misguided or ill-informed.

Intimidation of officials in youth matches is a unfortunate aspect of far too many leagues where no accountability or reasonable safeguards are in place! It s a good idea to pass on useful information to those in charge to help correct these oversights. The reality will be in how sincere and effective the leadership actually is in monitoring, assessing and dealing with controversy. Their actual concern for the continued safety and well being of its vulnerable members and their approach to proper education for those who participate at any level.


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