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: 22653

Law 4 - Players Equipment 12/17/2009

RE: Competitive Under 16

Dran of Luton, Bedfordshire England asks...

Are you allowed to wear tights during games like Nike Pro? Been considering to get some because of the cold conditions.
If yes, do the tights have to be the same colour like stated in Law 4 'shorts " if undershorts are worn, they must be of the same main colour as
the shorts'?

Are you also allowed to wear a scarf or a neck gator during a match?

Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

My colleague pointed out that you may have been asking this question as a player, not a referee. Info here relates to referee apparel. See the other answers for players.

I am not sure what level of game you are referring to. There also may be differing rules in England. Here is what USSF says in Advice to Referees:
Under normal circumstances, it is not acceptable for a game official to wear headgear, and it would never be seen on a high-level regional, national or international competition. However, there may be rare circumstances in local competitions where head protection or sun visors might sensibly be tolerated for the good of the game, e. g., early morning or late afternoon games with sun in the officials' line of sight causing vision difficulties; understaffed situations where an official with sensitive skin might be pressed into service for multiple games under strong sunlight, or a referee who wears glasses needing shielding from rain. Sunglasses would be subject to the same considerations. In addition, we ask referees to remember that sunglasses have the unfortunate side effect of suggesting that the referee or assistant referee is severely visually impaired and should not be working the game. They also limit communication between the officials and the players by providing a barrier against eye-to-eye contact. Sunglasses, if worn, should be removed prior to any verbal communication with players.
Personally I usually wear shorts, unless the temperature is near freezing (32 F, 0 C). If I have a series of games, or if it is wet as well as cold, I may wear warmups at higher temps, but I prefer not to be slowed down. However, I will allow my AR's to wear warmup pants, as long as they are black, even if temps are somewhat warmer. I'd rather they pay attention to what is going on in the game, rather than how cold they are getting and when do we get to go home?

I wouldn't wear anything around my head or neck that could hinder my vision or head movement. Much better to see what is going on around me than to be comfortable. A knit cap that covers my head and ears, or just a band around my ears, would be about it.

Read other questions answered by Referee Gary Voshol

View Referee Gary Voshol profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dran
The decision is a matter for the individual referee on his interpretation of the undershort rule in the Laws. I personally would have no problem with long undershots/leggings provided they are the same colour as the shorts as per the rule. I have only seen players wear the black ones under black shorts though. I know other referees allow them but I have come across some who don't and that is their interpretation of the law.
As regards a scarf again it is a matter for the referee on the day. As long as it is clearly inside the shirt, with no danger of being pulled I don't see a problem. I don't see the wolly scarf though as a very appropriate solution as when the player heats up it will be uncomfortable. I have not had any player wear a scarf in that manner. Most player go for the cold weather undershirt, which I wear myself, as it wicks away mositure. They also come in crewnecks which keeps the neck warm as well. Again sleeves must be the same colour as the main colour in the football shirt if they are exposed.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Dran,

I would suggest contacting your local football authorities for the answer to this question.

Whether these are permitted under the laws of the game is debatable, but many would claim they are not.

However, there is also room for common sense at very cold temperatures, and I believe some of my English colleagues may relax this interpretation of the laws a little - also considering the grade (semi-pro games would be less likely to see a relaxing of the laws than youth football).

If your tights are the same colour as the predominant colour of your shorts then you may be less likely to run into trouble - some referees may relax the laws only if the colour matches.

As for a scarf, I would say definitely not - there's a potential choking hazard. Wear a turtleneck if your neck is too cold.

Read other questions answered by Referee Jason Wright

View Referee Jason Wright profile

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

I guess I don't understand where the problem lies. The LOTG clearly allow "undershorts" and under Interpretations say:
A player may use equipment other than the basic equipment provided that its
sole purpose is to protect him physically and it poses no danger to him or any
other player.
Goalkeepers may wear tracksuit bottoms as part of their basic equipment.

I understand this is a UK question but over here our Federation tells us:

player must wear shinguards under the socks. All undergarments (slide pants, undershirts, etc.) which
extend visibly beyond the required uniform must be as close as possible in color to the main color of the
uniform part under which they are worn.

I cannot imagine any referee deciding that tights could in anyway be dangerous, which would appear to be the benchmark in the UK. Yes, they would have to be the same color as the shorts. I'd likewise say no to the scarf. Too much potential for problems with that.

It's interesting that LOTG allow tracksuits for keepers as this something I won't let players wear. Invariably the outer garments like tracksuits are 1-2 inches too long and the players trip over them creating a dangerous situation. But under the shorts tights? I can't see any problem

Read other questions answered by Referee Keith Contarino

View Referee Keith Contarino profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 22653
Read other Q & A regarding Law 4 - 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.