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Question Number: 31853

Law 4 - The Players Equipment 10/2/2017

RE: Competetive Under 15

Martin Connolly of Rushden, GB asks...


My son is a goalkeeper and he wear goal keeper gloves with fingersaves in (plastic strips at the back of each finger invaded in the padding to prevent a ginger being bent backwards). In a league match two weeks ago the referee told him that he would not allow my son to play wearing this type of glove. We will be playing the same team in the cup next week and I would like to know what the rule is regarding finger save gloves?

Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Martin
These fingersave gloves are made by all the leading sports manufacturers and used by all the top goalkeepers. I have never seen or heard of this as an issue and the referee was being ultra picky and thorough if he went to this extreme to check protection strips on gloves. I wonder did the opponents goalkeeper make an issue about it for gamesmanship reasons as only GKs would pay any real attention to these gloves. Most refs would not have a clue about these particular gloves. I have never ever looked at what look like regular GK gloves as a safety concern nor aware of any other refs that do it?
Ultimately though it is up to each referee on the day to allow equipment or not. I personally would have no issue with these as they are of no risk to the player or an opponent. Sure for that matter soft knee braces would pose more risk and there is never an issue with those.
The key for me is that manufacturers will not make a product that does not comply with current safety standards. When boot blades were first produced some in the game cited a risk that they believed the studs posed. FIFA responding to a letter from the FA opined that they were safe and legal. Rarely are they spoken about now.
As regards the game that is coming up it will depend on the referee as to any equipment used. If it is the same referee then he may not allow the gloves. Another referee may not have an issue or tell whoever raises it that it is a non issue. The only option is to have a second older pair available if it becomes an issue or the team to stand its ground and challenge it on the day.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Martin,
sounds odd to me? Get some input from local league HQ. I think the referee is being a tad restrictive? For whatever purpose he sees them as dangerous or unfair he can request they be removed but I think it is necessary bring this subject up in the league bylaws on equipment.

Perhaps there is hard or sharp plastic sticking out of the glove itself to scratch or cut ? I refused a player to participate with studded boots that were scuffed and ragged and very sharp from walking on the pavement They filed them flat and I let him play .
Not gloves I know but there must be a safety concern there somewhere? Did he say why other than no?

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Martin,
The law on player equipment (which obviously, applies to goalkeeper's gloves) simply says that: ''A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous.''

The law also says: ''Non-dangerous protective equipment [...] is permitted''

Since finger-save gloves are designed for and used as protective equipment and unless the gloves present some kind of safety hazard, they should be legal.

It would be interesting to know the referee's rationale for prohibiting the gloves. If it was because he thought the Law does not allow such equipment, he would be wrong. If he saw them as somehow dangerous, he would be within his rights to prevent them being used. I must say that unless they were defective in some way though, I can't see that they would be dangerous. As a coach I can tell you that many of our goalkeepers wore finger-save gloves for many years and in what probably amounts to hundreds of games, no referee ever had a problem with them.

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