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Question Number: 33424

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 6/8/2019

RE: Competitive Adult

Jak of Malindi, Kenya asks...

Immediately after the whistle for halftime break, blue 4 takes off his jersey as he walks outside the field of play. Is there a caution for this observation? And if there is, where exactly in the LOTG is this found?
Thanks in advance!

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jak
No this is not a caution. Since 2004 it has been a caution to remove a jersey as part of a goal celebration.
It is somewhat unusual that a jersey removal as part of a goal celebration is a caution yet not so when done at other times. I have seen players score the winning penalty in KFTPM and no action is taken as the game is effectively over. That is what the laws state or for that matter does not state. Players take off shirts to swap them on the field of play.
One of the arguments given by FIFA was that showing a bare chest was offensive in some cultures and that may be the case. Yet if it is why not at fhalf time or full time?
Like Referee Dawson I think it is unnecessary. If it is fine for some reason other than celebration then it can be dealt with under the laws such as time wasting, showing a lack of respect for the game etc.
I had to send off a player for a second caution on a shirt removal a few seasons ago. It is a complulsory card so I had no discretion on it.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jak,
the caution is for removing the jersey as part of an excessive action during a goal celebration. There are punishments added if there are logos or political messages if found to be inappropriate displayed underneath but that is usually at the discretion of the competition authorities. Mind you certain countries are likely to go bananas if a woman choose to do so more than a guy but the referee need not interfere. Players will take their jerseys off to trade and even throw or gift them to the spectators.

Personally , just my opinion only, nothing to do with the LOTG . I think the mandatory shirt removal caution is unnecessary intervention. If the display is too long and a shirt removal was to actually delay the restart of play. Let him or her fumble about while we restart by stating no player can participate in play without a jersey, per the LOTG. This was pressure by a few countries worried we might see a boob or two.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Jak,
The LOTG state that it's only a mandatory caution if the shirt is removed as part of a goal celebration. Any other time is fine.
Now, it pays to be familiar with your local directives and competition rules. I've seen players cautioned for removing their shirt when leaving the field to be subbed off due to competition rules around this - but to be clear, that's also not a caution under the LOTG.
But even in those competitions, removing the jersey at halftime isn't a problem. Unless the players are actually doing something to cause an issue (dissent, abuse, antagonising opponents/supporters, that sort of thing), half time is their time - and players will often remove their jersey.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jak
Simply removing the shirt is not an automatic caution. It's only if the player does this as part of a goal celebration that the referee must issue a caution. As my colleagues have mentioned, players often remove their shirts, more often at the end of a match but sometimes at half time as well. For instance, I can remember a couple of times when players have swapped shirts at half-time. These players were not cautioned and there would be no reason for doing so.

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