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Question Number: 32128

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 12/25/2017

RE: Adult

Alex Bomphray of Edinburgh, Scotland asks...

If a player lifts up his shirt to reveal a message and the front of the shirt is covering his face but the shirt is not taken off, should the player be booked?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Alex ,
it might depend on the venue, the message & who is refereeing.
AT the elite level they really crack down on this although I am wondering why it is such a concern? The advertising or political statements might be worthy of further punishment by the ROC although a heartfelt shout out to a deceased relative or friend or a birthday of a family member is hardly grounds for discipline! While referees record the message incident in the match report unless it was considered as blatantly racist or offinabus I doubt the referee concerns themselves with on field punishment. That said it is well known a card WILL follow removing the shirt or covering the head with the shirt, the players must accept the consequences administered by the referee as well as any further sanctions by the ROC for whatever message therein !

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Alex,
Yes, the player should be booked - but for covering the face with the shirt alone, rather than for the message. The fact that the player has revealed a message should be reported to the competition authorities who will take the appropriate action.

The relevant parts of the Laws are as follows:

''A player must be cautioned for:
- covering the head or face with a mask or other similar item
- removing the shirt or covering the head with the shirt''

''Players must not reveal undergarments that show political, religious, personal slogans, statements or images, or advertising other than the manufacturer's logo. For any offence the player and/or the team will be sanctioned by the competition organiser, national football association or by FIFA.''

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Alex
Lifting the shirt to cover the face has the same sanction as removing the shirt. It is a caution for unsporting behaviour.
As regards lifting a shirt to reveal a the message on the shirt that should be reported to the competition authorities. A message of goodwill to someone who is ill or to a family will probably be ignored compared to a commercial, political statement.
You might recall Nicklas Bendtner of Denmark being banned for one match and fined 80,000 (100k) for revealing a certain brand by lifting his shirt in a Euro game v Portugal . Bendtner was not cautioned during the game as he did not remove his shirt or pull it up over his head.

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