Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32455

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 5/18/2018

RE: Competive Under 12

Lilly of Menlo Park, California America asks...

So I broke my finger and I have a metal splint. I have a soccer tournament this weekend and I was wondering if I can play with the splint on and wrap it up.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Lily
It very much depends on the referee on the day. Perhaps if it is well wrapped with soft foam material it might pass although I would say that the hard metal part makes it a risk and therefore a referee would be less likely to allow it. The referee would certainly be supported in law if he deemed it dangerous.
Some Leagues spell out what is permissible. A search of the web shows one US Leagues answer
** Q. My child is in a cast or splint - can he/she still play if I wrap it in bubblewrap?
A. Hard casts or splints are not permitted, even if wrapped in soft material. The following items are permitted: knee braces, finger splints, leather wrist/ankle supports. **
As Referee Grove points out playing with an injury may not be the best choice. The splint is there to assist healing and for the finger to be protected. Playing sports opens the possibility of aggravating the injury.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Lilly,
Unless as ref McHugh mentions, the competition organisers have set specific guidelines, the Laws of the Game simply say that:

''A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous.''

It is left up to the referee to decide whether something is dangerous or not. Incidentally the danger can also be to the player themselves - for instance if you have a broken finger, even with a splint on it, there is a risk that the finger could be injured further if you fall awkwardly, are involved in a collision or if a hard-struck ball hits it.

I'm not a medical professional and I haven't seen the splint in question so I can't say if it is designed to be worn while playing sports but I would perhaps mention that when my own daughter had a thumb injury and was wearing a light splint that would not have posed a risk to other players, we thought it better for her not to play until the injury was completely healed and the splint had been removed. I could be accused of being overly cautious, but I've always tended towards the view that it's not worth the risk of returning to play too early which can lead to aggravating an injury, causing an even longer absence from playing.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32455
Read other Q & A regarding Law 4 - The Players Equipment

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.