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Question Number: 31940

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 10/25/2017

RE: Adult

Muhammad Rizwan of Abbottabad, Abbottabad Pakistan asks...

Sir, I just want to know that i asked a question that can we switch a keeper while having a penalty kick answer is yes.. But someone told me that if a on-filed player take place the goalkeeper he must wear the different shirt with the same number he wear before and if goalkeeper plays as a filed player he would wear the same color shirt but with the same number he wear while he was a goalkeeper.. in simple that while switching the goalkeeper the shirt number would remain the same but different color? what you say?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Muhammad,
The laws of the game say nothing about shirt numbers. So according to the law, it doesn't matter which number the player has on their shirt (or if they have any number at all).

Now, the rules of competition (ROC) might say something about shirt numbering but even if they do, I doubt that it would require that the team have a goalkeeper's shirt with every player's number on it, just so that they can wear it if they go in goal temporarily for a few minutes.

In this situation, I think it would be a 'common sense' decision to let the outfield player wear the 'wrong number' shirt especially if it's just a short-term switch for the purposes of a penalty.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Muhammad
The Laws of the Game makes no reference to shirt numbers. That is a matter for the competition rules to assist in the easy identification of players . Now many competition rules allow for a blood jersey for players to change into should their own shirt get blood on it. It either has no number or a unique number. If number 9 has to change his shirt due to blood the referee makes a note of that change. The same principle can apply to the GK change in that the referee notes that say Number 9 has changed with the GK and he is now wearing GK 1 and GK 1 is wearing Outfield 9. Other wise let us say that a team has used all its substitutes how could a team find a goalkeeper jersey with the number of the player that MUST go into goal say due to an injury. It is impossible so common sense has to prevail and the referee makes a note of the numbers. Same must apply to unforced goalkeepers changes unless the referee wants to find a highly spurious excuse to not allow it. That can be contested and nit a good place for a referee to be in.
My advice is to allow the changes and make a note of the number changes

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