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Question Number: 31300

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 2/26/2017

RE: Select Other

Zeke Palermo of Woodstock, Georgia USA asks...

Going through the site, it's obvious that the LOTG indicate that no jewelry shall be worn in a match, and the refs here seem to be EXTREMELY sure that this is followed. My question is simple; where do you referees/the LOTG stand on religious jewelry/clothing? I.e. Crucifix Necklaces. Yammachas, Hijabs. And how could I, a referee, ask a player to remove the article in question (if deemed unsafe) without appearing tomattack their religious beliefs? We live in a politically correct world, and I do NOT be suspended for offending a player!

Zeke Palermo

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Zeke
FIFA recently opined that the hijab is now safe to play with and the Laws of the Game have been amended accordingly. This is what the amended Law states
** Where head covers are worn, they must:
# be black or the same main colour as the shirt (provided that the players of the same team wear the same colour)
# be in keeping with the professional appearance of the player’s equipment
# not be attached to the shirt
# not be dangerous to the player wearing it or any other player (e.g. opening/ closing mechanism around neck)
# not have any part(s) extending out from the surface (protruding elements)**
So that covers many head coverings
As regards regilious medals when attached with a light string or very light chain worn under the players shirt IMHO do not pose any risk as the string will break easily if caught. If seen by a referee and one wants to be ultra careful the referee can ask for the item to be taped to the body aka a medic alert chain or bracelet. Some refs do not treat them as jewellery due to the religious nature of the item while some do. Many are content to allow same as they see zero risk on injury and unwilling to raise a spat or offend on religious grounds. Ultimately though any repercussion of an injury nature may come to the referee.
The jewellery that referees need to deal with strictly are rings, ear rings, heavy chains, watches, etc. and may not be taped. We have seen injuries in those instances such as loss of fingers, puncture wounds, cuts and abrasions etc,
So I have never ever came across an injury related to a religious medal or a head covering. I know that there are many out there that adopt zero tolerance and so be it. The Law supports such a position.
For me I assess the risk as non existent on a religious medal and it is a non issue in my games. I am more concerned about the more serious risks and those likely to cause serious injury.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Jewelry is prohibited in high school games played under NFHS rules as they are in Georgia. Only a religious medal or medical alert medal may be worn but it must be worn under the uniform and taped to the body (Rule 4-2-4). Religious headwear is also illegal but state high school associations may permit non-dangerous religious headwear to be worn in unique and extenuating circumstances (Rule 4-2-5 note). The permission to wear the headwear must presented be in writing to you as the referee or to your officials association. However as the referee, you still have the authority and obligation to prohibit dangerous and confusing equipment of any type to be worn (Rule 4-2-1). Please remember that participant safety is the highest priority in high school sports. I hope that you are having a successful season.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Religious jewellery is still jewellery.
Safety issues override discrimination - to a point. Although crucifixes aren't actually required to be worn, so discrimination isn't an issue. Doesn't matter how it's mounted or affixed - it's decorative, so it goes.

If it's that important to a player, they should be smart enough to conceal it under a sock or a sweatband.

However, if one's particular rules - such as the NFHS rules stated by Ref Manjone - permit it, then the referee needs to abide by that.

As Ref McHugh states, head covers can be worn but there are certain conditions. However, referees shouldn't go poking around a head covering to ensure all conditions are met - like anybody else, a simple visual check will suffice.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Zeke,
Ref McHugh has already given the law as it regards head coverings but you will note that it still requires that such items not be dangerous. So as far as the Laws are concerned, the main concern is still safety and I believe that is the justification you could use, if you decide that an item that might be considered religious in nature is dangerous and should therefore be removed.

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